The Top 5 Academic Book Publishers

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The top five academic publishers, who publish scholarly works and books for students, are distinctly different from the "Big Five" trade publishers, who publish books for the general public. The list below contains prestigious names, some of which are associated with venerated universities. One of these publishers even claims to date back to the thirteenth century.

These presses have offices worldwide, but you'll find the contact information for the U.S. locations.

Cambridge University Press

Cambridge University Press
1 Liberty Plaza, Floor 20
New York, NY 10006
(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. 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, The Life of Sir William Osler by Harvey Cushing, won the 1926 Pulitzer Prize.

As of 2019, Oxford University Press claims a total of seventeen Pulitzer Prize-winning titles, the most recent of which was The New Negro by Jeffrey C. Stewart, which also won one of the ten National Book Awards the press has earned.

OUP 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.


52 Vanderbilt Avenue
New York, NY 10017
(212) 216-7800

Compared to Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press, Routledge is a youngster, founded in 1836. 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 offices worldwide.

Routledge has a backlist of more than 35,000 titles still in print and has published 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

Begun in 1905 by Princeton graduate Whitney Darrow to produce the school's Alumni Weekly, Princeton University Press (PUP) differs from other university presses in that it has always been privately owned and operated, as opposed to being owned or financially supported by universities.

PUP began in rented quarters above Marsh's drugstore on Nassau Street in Princeton, New Jersey. Charles Scribner II, a trustee of the university and a New York book publisher, contributed funds to help the press reincorporate as a nonprofit in 1910 from which it grew into a book publishing company.

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

One New York Plaza, Suite 4500
New York, NY 10004
(212) 726 9200

Palgrave Macmillan is best known for publishing in the disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, business, and politics.

Palgrave Macmillan is a fairly new publisher, founded in 2000, but was born from long-time publisher St. Martin's Press Scholarly and Reference in the United States joining with the nearly two-centuries-old Macmillan Press in the United Kingdom. It is a subsidiary of Springer Nature.