Last updated

Routledge logo.svg
Parent company Taylor & Francis
Founded1851;169 years ago (1851)
Founder George Routledge
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters location Abingdon-on-Thames
DistributionWorld wide
Key peopleJeremy North (MD Books) [1]
Publication typesBooks and academic journals
Nonfiction topics Humanities, social science, behavioral science, education, law
Official website

Routledge ( /ˈrtlɪ/ ) [2] is a British multinational publisher. It was founded in 1836 by George Routledge, and specialises in providing academic books, journals and online resources in the fields of humanities, behavioural science, education, law and social science. The company publishes approximately 1,800 journals and 5,000 new books each year and their backlist encompasses over 70,000 titles. [3] Routledge is claimed to be the largest global academic publisher within humanities and social sciences. [4] [5]


In 1998, Routledge became a subdivision and imprint of its former rival, Taylor & Francis Group (T&F), as a result of a £90-million acquisition deal from Cinven, a venture capital group which had purchased it two years previously for £25 million. [6] Following the merger of Informa and T&F in 2004, Routledge become a publishing unit and major imprint within the Informa 'academic publishing' division. [7] Routledge is headquartered in the main T&F office in Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire and also operates from T&F offices globally including in Philadelphia, Melbourne, New Delhi, Singapore and Beijing. [8]


The firm originated in 1836, when the London bookseller George Routledge published an unsuccessful guidebook, The Beauties of Gilsland with his brother-in-law W H (William Henry) Warne as assistant. In 1848 the pair entered the booming market for selling inexpensive imprints of works of fiction to rail travellers, in the style of the German Tauchnitz family, which became known as the "Railway Library". [9] [10]

The venture was a success as railway usage grew, and it eventually led to Routledge, along with W H Warne's brother Frederick Warne, to found the company, George Routledge & Co. in 1851. [11] The following year in 1852, the company gained lucrative business through selling reprints of Uncle Tom's Cabin , (in the public domain in the UK) which in turn enabled it to pay author Edward Bulwer-Lytton £20,000 for a 10-year lease allowing sole rights to print all 35 of his works [9] [12] including 19 of his novels to be sold cheaply as part of their "Railway Library" series. [13]

Routledge stand at Senate House History Day 2018 Routledge stand at Senate House History Day 2018.jpg
Routledge stand at Senate House History Day 2018

The company was restyled in 1858 as Routledge, Warne & Routledge when George Routledge's son, Robert Warne Routledge, entered the partnership. Frederick Warne eventually left the company after the death of his brother W.H. Warne in May 1859 (died aged 37). [14] Gaining rights to some titles, he founded Frederick Warne & Co in 1865, which became known for its Beatrix Potter books. [15] In July 1865, George Routledge's son Edmund Routledge became a partner, and the firm became George Routledge & Sons. [16]

By 1899 the company was running close to bankruptcy. Following a successful restructuring in 1902 by scientist Sir William Crookes, banker Arthur Ellis Franklin, William Swan Sonnenschein as managing director, and others, however, it was able to recover and began to acquire and merge with other publishing companies including J. C. Nimmo Ltd. in 1903. In 1912 the company took over the management of Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., the descendant of companies founded by Charles Kegan Paul, Alexander Chenevix Trench, Nicholas Trübner, and George Redway. [17]

These early 20th-century acquisitions brought with them lists of notable scholarly titles, and from 1912 onward, the company became increasingly concentrated in the academic and scholarly publishing business under the imprint "Kegan Paul Trench Trubner", as well as reference, fiction and mysticism. In 1947, George Routledge and Sons finally merged with Kegan Paul Trench Trubner (the umlaut had been quietly dropped in the First World War) under the name of Routledge & Kegan Paul. [18] Using C. K. Ogden and later Karl Mannheim as advisers the company was soon particularly known for its titles in philosophy, psychology and the social sciences.

In 1985, Routledge & Kegan Paul joined with Associated Book Publishers (ABP), [19] which was later acquired by International Thomson in 1987. Under Thomson's ownership, Routledge's name and operations were retained, and, in 1996, a management buyout financed by the European private equity firm Cinven saw Routledge operating as an independent company once again. Just two year later, Cinven and Routledge's directors accepted a deal for Routledge's acquisition by Taylor & Francis Group (T&F), with the Routledge name being retained as an imprint and subdivision. [20]

In 2004, T&F became a division within Informa plc after a merger. Routledge continues as a primary publishing unit and imprint within Informa's 'academic publishing' division, publishing academic humanities and social science books, journals, reference works and digital products. Routledge has grown considerably as a result of organic growth and acquisitions of other publishing companies and other publishers' titles by its parent company. [21] [22] [23] Humanities and social sciences titles acquired by T&F from other publishers are rebranded under the Routledge imprint. [22]


The famous English publisher Fredric Warburg was a commissioning editor at Routledge during the early 20th century. Novelist Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina , worked at the company as a commissioning editor in the 1990s. [24]


Routledge has published many of the greatest thinkers and scholars of the last hundred years, including Adorno, Bohm, Butler, Derrida, Einstein, Foucault, Freud, Hayek, Jung, Levi-Strauss, McLuhan, Marcuse, Popper, Russell, Sartre and Wittgenstein. The republished works of these authors have appeared as part of the Routledge Classics [25] and Routledge Great Minds series. Competitors to the series are Verso Books' Radical Thinkers, Penguin Classics and Oxford World's Classics.


Reference works

Taylor and Francis closed down the Routledge print encyclopaedia division in 2006. Some of its publications were:

Reference works by Europa Publications, published by Routledge:

Many of Routledge's reference works are published in print and electronic formats as Routledge Handbooks and have their own dedicated website: Routledge Handbooks Online. [30] The company also publishes several online encyclopedias and collections of digital content such as Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, [26] Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism [31] Routledge Performance Archive, [32] and South Asia Archive. [33]

Book series

Related Research Articles

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Taylor & Francis Group is an international company originating in England that publishes books and academic journals. It is a division of Informa plc, a United Kingdom-based publisher and conference company.

George Routledge was a British publisher, the founder of the publishing house Routledge.

The International Who's Who is a Who's Who series of reference books of notable people worldwide that has been published annually since 1935.

Maney Publishing was an independent academic publishing company that was taken over by Taylor & Francis in 2015. Maney Publishing specialised in peer-reviewed academic journals in materials science and engineering, the humanities, and health science. Maney published extensively for learned societies, universities, and professional bodies.

Chapman & Hall is an imprint owned by CRC Press, originally founded as a British publishing house in London in the first half of the 19th century by Edward Chapman and William Hall. Chapman & Hall were publishers for Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Anthony Trollope, Eadweard Muybridge and Evelyn Waugh.

Informa plc is a British multinational events and publishing company with its head office and registered office in London. It has offices in 43 countries and around 11,000 employees. It owns numerous brands including CRC Press, Datamonitor, Fan Expo, Institute for International Research, Lloyd's List, Penton, Routledge, Taylor & Francis, and UBM.

Marcel Dekker was a journal and encyclopedia publishing company with editorial boards found in New York, New York. Dekker encyclopedias are now published by CRC Press, part of the Taylor and Francis publishing group.

Haworth Press was a publisher of scholarly, academic and trade books, and approximately 200 peer-reviewed academic journals. It was founded in 1978 by the publishing industry executives Bill Cohen and Patrick Mcloughlin. The name was taken from the township of Haworth in England, the home of the Brontë sisters. Many of the Haworth publications cover very specialized material, ranging from mental health, psychology, psychiatry, addiction studies, social work, interdisciplinary social sciences, library & information science, LGBT studies, agriculture, pharmaceutical science, health care, medicine, and other fields.

ABC-CLIO, LLC is a publishing company for academic reference works and periodicals primarily on topics such as history and social sciences for educational and public library settings. ABC-CLIO provides service to fifteen different online databases which contain over one million online textbooks. The company consults academic leaders in the fields they cover in order to provide authority for their reference titles. The headquarters are located in Santa Barbara, California.

Frederick Warne & Co is a British publisher founded in 1865. It is famous for children's books, particularly those of Beatrix Potter, and for its Observer's Books which have gained a cult following.

Focal Press is a publisher of media technology books and it is an imprint of Taylor & Francis. It was founded in 1938 by Andor Kraszna-Krausz, a Hungarian photographer who immigrated to England in 1937 and eventually published over 1,200 books on photography.

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Transaction Publishers was a New Jersey–based publishing house that specialized in social science books. It was located on the Livingston Campus of Rutgers University. Transaction was sold to Taylor & Francis in 2016 and merged with its Routledge imprint.

Ashgate Publishing was an academic book and journal publisher based in Farnham. It was established in 1967 and specialised in the social sciences, arts, humanities and professional practice. It had an American office in Burlington, Vermont, and another British office in London. It is now a subsidiary of Informa.

Fitzroy Dearborn was an American publisher of academic library reference titles with offices in London and Chicago. It was acquired by Taylor & Francis as an imprint of Routledge Reference in 2002, before Taylor & Francis merged with Informa.

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Greenleaf Publishing Ltd was an independent UK-based publishing company specializing in corporate responsibility, business ethics, environmental policy and management, future business strategy and practice, and sustainable development. Founded in 1992, in 2012 the company became part of GSE Research Limited, an online scholarly publisher specializing in governance, sustainability and the environment. In 2017 the company was sold to Taylor & Francis and became part of its Routledge imprint.

As of 2018, ten firms in Germany rank among the world's biggest publishers of books in terms of revenue: C.H. Beck, Bertelsmann, Cornelsen Verlag, Haufe-Gruppe, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, Ernst Klett Verlag, Springer Nature, Thieme, WEKA Holding, and Westermann Druck- und Verlagsgruppe. Overall, "Germany has some 2,000 publishing houses, and more than 90,000 titles reach the public each year, a production surpassed only by the United States." Unlike many other countries, "book publishing is not centered in a single city but is concentrated fairly evenly in Berlin, Hamburg, and the regional metropolises of Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Munich."



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