R.R. Bowker

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R.R. Bowker
Bowker logo.png
Parent company Cambridge Information Group
Founded1868 (1868)
Founder Frederick Leypoldt
Headquarters location New Providence, New Jersey
Key peopleAnnie Callanan, CEO & President [1]
Publication types Books
Official website www.bowker.com

R.R. Bowker LLC ("Bowker") is an American limited liability company based in New Providence, New Jersey, and incorporated in Delaware. [2] Among other things, Bowker provides bibliographic information on published works to the book trade, including publishers, booksellers, libraries, and individuals; its roots in the industry trace back to 1868. Bowker is the exclusive U.S. agent for issuing International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), a universal method of identifying books in print. Bowker is the publisher of Books in Print and other compilations of information about books and periodical titles. It provides supply chain services and analytical tools to the book publishing industry. [3] Bowker is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey, with additional operational offices in England and Australia. It is now owned by Cambridge Information Group.



The company was founded in New York City by Frederick Leypoldt, a German immigrant who worked as a bookseller and recognized the need for good bibliographic information to make the book business more efficient. He established the monthly Literary Bulletin, his first periodical, in 1868. In 1870 Leypoldt issued the first edition of his Annual American Catalogue, the forerunner for Books in Print. In 1872 he published the first issue of Publishers Weekly , in 1873 the first Publishers' Uniform Trade-List Annual (later the Publishers Trade List Annual), and in 1876 the first issue of Library Journal . In 1878 Leypoldt's company was acquired by Richard Rogers Bowker. Leypoldt and Bowker also founded two influential standard book-industry references: Literary Marketplace and Ulrich's Periodicals Directory . [4]

In 1967, the Xerox Corporation acquired the R. R. Bowker company, and then, in 1985, sold it to Reed International (now RELX Group). That same year, in 1985, Publishers Weekly—after 113 years as a part of R.R. Bowker—was transferred to the Cahners Publishing Company. [5] In 1991, Reed's reference division moved to New Providence, New Jersey. [6] In 2001, Cambridge Information Group acquired Bowker. [7] After the sale, In 2007, Cambridge Information Group sold Literary Marketplace and other directories to Information Today Inc. [8] Cambridge Information Group merged Cambridge Scientific Abstracts with ProQuest Information and Learning to form ProQuest LLC, a privately held limited liability company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and incorporated in Delaware. R. R. Bowker LLC was repositioned as an affiliate of ProQuest.[ clarification needed ] [9]

Selected publications


Bowker is the United States provider of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), a code for identifying commercial books devised by Gordon Foster in 1967. An ISBN is currently placed on a book to uniquely identify it. ISBNs are available one at a time and in blocks up to 100,000 for a set fee. [11] ISBNs may be purchased and maintained at Bowker's My Identifiers website. Many countries, including the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain, to name a few, charge for ISBNs. Canada and Mexico provide ISBNs free of charge as their ISBN agencies are government funded. [12] [13] Bowker USA charges $125 for one ISBN [14] and offers substantial discounts on volume purchases.

See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. "Company Overview of R.R. Bowker LLC" Bloomberg Businessweek (accessed April 17, 2014)
  2. "Bowker Investigating Breach of ISBN Site". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  3. "Bowker Moves Forward Under New Ownership", by Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly , Vol. 249, No. 2, January 14, 2002, p. 11; ISSN   0000-0019
  4. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Allen Kent (ed.), New York: Marcel Dekker (1970), pp. 133–148; OCLC   58646542
  5. "Reed to Acquire Xerox Subsidiary". The New York Times. 1985-06-13. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  6. Horner, Shirley (1994-02-06). "The Political Scene". About Books (column). The New York Times. p. 13. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  7. Mary H. Munroe (2004). "Cambridge Information Group Timeline". The Academic Publishing Industry: A Story of Merger and Acquisition. Archived from the original on October 2014 via Northern Illinois University.
  8. Hane, Paula J. (October 2001). "Reed Elsevier Sells Bowker to CSA, ITI". Information Today; Medford. 18 (9). pp. 1–70. ISSN   8755-6286. ProQuest   214842745.
  9. ProQuest website — "Company history"
  10. The Library and Book Trade Almanac 2009 54th ed., Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc.; ISSN   2150-5446
  11. "Bowker’s Andy Weissberg on ISBNs and the Future", by Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, May 19, 2010, (accessed February 12, 2011)
  12. Government of Canada. "ISBN Canada". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  13. Government of Mexico. "Agencia Nacional ISBN México". Secretaria de Cultura. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  14. "Purchase ISBNs". Bowker. Retrieved 10 April 2016.