Brothers Sidney, John and Alfred Pemberton had a business selling second hand books in Manchester, England. Just after the end of World War II they expanded into publishing, setting up World Distributors (Manchester) Ltd. They moved into the lucrative market for hardback annuals, published in the autumn of each year, but displaying the next years date (if any date at all) on the cover to prolong shelf-life; purchasers, often buying children's Christmas presents, and thus knowing the recipient would unwrap their gift near the end of the year, were reassured the gift would not be viewed as out-of-date, plus unsold stock could be shipped to overseas markets such as New Zealand and Australia at the start of the next year, where they would still have a current cover date despite taking months to transport.
Their annuals were generally "tie-ins," connected to popular sports, TV shows and cartoons, and licensed by the rights holders for same, but they also garnered the rights to republish several US comic titles from companies including Marvel, DC and Gold Key. Over the decades they produced annuals for All Stars Football, Doctor Who, The Daleks, K9, Danger Man, Catweazle, Green Hornet, Enid Blyton, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Man from UNCLE, Flash Gordon, Star Trek, Flintstones, Follyfoot, Tarzan, Huckleberry Hound, The Avengers, Black Beauty, Dad's Army, Basil Brush, CHiPs, Dempsey and Makepeace, The Wombles, The A-Team and Thomas the Tank Engine.
In 1981 they renamed themselves World International, Ltd, but by the end of the decade they had ceased publishing.