Alpha Books was established in 1991 as a computer book imprint for beginners, within Macmillan Computer Publishing. In 1993 it introduced the successful Complete Idiot's Guide® series, which quickly expanded into other categories. Alpha became part of Macmillan General Reference in 1995 and of Pearson Education in 1999. The imprint joined Penguin Group (USA) in 2003.
Today, Alpha publishes Complete Idiot's Guides for beginning learners in nearly all non-fiction categories and has sold over 35 million copies in 26 languages. The series is known for its easy-to-understand information and instruction and its casual, often light-hearted approach. Complete Idiot's Guide titles are available in numerous formats, many with companion media.
Within its mission of "knowledge for life," Alpha brings other original non-fiction and how-to titles to adults who seek to learn new skills or enrich their lives. Other series include Alpha Teach Yourself in 24 Hours, Humongous Books (math and science), At Your Fingertips, and Desk Reference (business and finance). Successful single titles include Don't Retire: Rewire, Get It Done When You're Depressed, and Titanium eBay.
Vice-President and Publisher
Marie Butler-Knight was the founding publisher of Alpha Books and led the imprint until 1995. She served as publisher of reference imprints Webster's New World and Arco within Macmillan General Reference until 1999, when she returned to Alpha to head the imprint under Pearson and Penguin.