The Top 5 Academic Book Publishers

Paper Flying out of Manual Typewriter

PM Images / Getty Images

The top five academic publishers, who publish scholarly works and books for students, are quite distinct from the Big Five trade publishers, who publish books for the general public. The list contains some prestigious names, some are even associated with venerated universities. One of these publishers even claims to date back to the Thirteenth Century.

Cambridge University Press

32 Avenue of the Americas
New York NY 10013-2473
(212) 337 5000

Dating from a "Letters Patent" from King Henry VIII in 1534 to print "all manner of books," the Cambridge University Press claims to be the oldest university press and one of the oldest publishers and printers in the world. Part of the University of Cambridge, the press publishes 50,000 authors in more than 100 different countries. Its list encompasses academic, professional and school titles "from aesthetics to zoology."

Their notable authors include poet and writer John Milton (1608 – 1674), physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton (1642 -1727), philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970), linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky, and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. Cambridge University Press has more than 50 offices around the globe.

Oxford University Press (OUP)

198 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
(800) 445 9714

Given a rivalry with Cambridge that dates back to the thirteenth century, perhaps it's no wonder Oxford also claims its University Press is the oldest in the world, citing origins dating back to 1478; presumably the year the first printing presses were set up (though the actual entity of a "University Press" apparently came later). OUP also claims to be the world's largest university press with the widest global presence. 

The New York outpost of OUP was established in 1896 and, in the 1920s, began publishing its list. Notably, its first original publication won the 1926 Pulitzer Prize.

Today, Oxford University Press claims a total of fifteen Pulitzer Prize-winning titles and publishes such acclaimed authors as historian Alan Brinkley, ethnologist Richard Dawkins, journalist, and speechwriter William Safire, literary critic and educator Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and environmentalist Rachel Carson.

For more Oxford University bookish information, learn about the school's Bodleian Library.


711 Third Avenue – 8th floor
New York, NY 10017
(212) 216-7800

Compared to Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press, Routledge is a youngster - founded in 1836; it's not even two centuries old. The publisher is part of the Taylor & Francis Group, a trading division of Informa UK Ltd.

Routledge claims to be the world's leading academic publisher in Humanities and Social Science, publishing about 2,000 new books each year through some offices worldwide.

Routledge has a backlist of more than 35,000 titles still in print and has published some exceptional authors such as theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, psychiatrist, and psychotherapist Carl Jung, philosopher Marshall McLuhan and philosopher, writer, activist Jean-Paul Sartre.

Princeton University Press

41 William Street
Princeton, NJ 08540-5237
(609) 258-4900

Though it was begun in 1905 by a Princeton graduate, Whitney Darrow, and got its start printing the school's Alumni Weekly, unlike most university presses owned or financially supported by universities, Princeton University Press (PUP) has always been privately owned and controlled.

PUP began in rented quarters above Marsh's drugstore on Nassau Street in Princeton, New Jersey. Charles Scribner, a trustee of the University and a New York book publisher, contributed funds and land to the start-up.

Notably, PUP authors include Theodore Roosevelt, Joseph Campbell, and Stephen Hawking. Princeton University Press's single most popular book is The I Ching, translated by Wilhelm / Baynes, which has more than 900,000 copies in print.

Palgrave Macmillan

175 Fifth Avenue,
New York, NY 10010
(646) 307 515

Palgrave Macmillan is best known for our publishing in the humanities, social sciences, business and study skills.

In 1843 London brothers Daniel and Alexander Macmillan published their first two books; in 1861, they published a poetry anthology by Francis Turner Palgrave, which became a bestseller for them. In 1869, they opened an office on Bleecker Street in New York City.

Some of their well-known authors include poet W. B. Yeats and economist John Maynard Keynes. In 1864, Palgrave Macmillan first published The Statesman's Yearbook, a one-volume reference book providing information on the countries of the world, which is still being published today.