The article presents the history of Otto’s publishing house from its establishment in 1871 until the death of its founder, Jan Otto, in 1916 with an emphasis on the formative years of the development of the business (1871, 1883/84, 1899). It deals with the transformation of the company and Otto’s exceptional business success. Otto managed to build the biggest nationally Czech publishing enterprise, characterised by a sophisticated universal editing programme, through which he tried to cover all literary needs of the Czech nation. At the end of Otto’s life, his company stopped expanding and gradually began to stagnate. The lack of a suitable successor in the management of the company and fights over the inheritance eventually led to the fall of this company.