The Dark Side Compendium was intended to be the seminal work on all matters concerning the dark side of the Force. Started by Palpatine shortly after he became Emperor, the Compendium was intended to span hundreds of volumes as Palpatine himself intended never to die. However, he only finished two, with a third nearly-finished manuscript by the time of his first death at the Battle of Endor. It appears that, after his resurrection, he failed to write more volumes or even finish the nearly-complete third volume. Some ideas that became part of the three volumes were included in his Dark Side manifesto, Absolute Power, which also included two other works, The False War and The Useful Bureaucrats on political manipulation, which he had finished between 19 and 18 BBY.

Palpatine permitted some of his more powerful underlings access to the work for study, but this access was tightly controlled. Jerec, a fallen Jedi Master and an Imperial High Inquisitor, was allowed to read the Compendium, and from its volumes developed the idea of establishing a coterie of seven Dark Jedi bound to his will. When Palpatine began to distrust his henchman's ambitions, he withdrew Jerec's access to the Compendium.

The three volumes were:

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