For people named Routledge, see Routledge (surname).
Parent company Taylor & Francis
Status Active
Founded 1851 (1851)
Founder George Routledge
Country of origin United Kingdom
Headquarters location Abingdon-on-Thames
Distribution World Wide
Key people Jeremy North (MD Books)[1]
Publication types Books & journals
Nonfiction topics Humanities, Social Science, Behavioral Science, Education, Law.
Fiction genres Non-Fiction. Academic & Scholarly.
Official website
2008 conference booth

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

In 1998, Routledge became a subdivision and imprint of its former rival, Taylor & Francis Group, 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.[4]


The firm originated in 1836, when Camden bookseller George Routledge published an unsuccessful guidebook, The Beauties of Gilsand 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".[5]

The venture was a success which was mainly due to the mass hysteria in the 1840s due to Railway Mania and it eventually led to Routledge, along with W H Warne's Brother Frederick Warne, to found the company, George Routledge & Co. in 1851.[6] The following year in 1852, the company gained lucrative business through selling pirated reprints of Uncle Tom's Cabin, which allowed for it to be able to pay author Edward Bulwer-Lytton £20,000 for a 10-year lease allowing sole rights to print all 35 of his works [5][7] including 19 of his novels to be sold cheaply as part of their "Railway Library" series. [8]

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).[9] Gaining rights to some titles, he founded Frederick Warne & Co in 1865, which became known for its Beatrix Potter books.[10] In July 1865, his son Edmund Routledge became a partner, and the firm became George Routledge & Sons.[11]

However, by 1902, the company was running close to bankruptcy. Following a successful restructuring, it was able to recover and began to acquire and merge with other publishing companies. Amongst these were J. C. Nimmo Ltd. (1903) and Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. (1912). These early 20th-century acquisitions brought with them lists of notable scholarly titles, and it is from 1912 onwards that Routledge & Kegan Paul (the new company name) became increasingly concentrated on and involved with the academic and scholarly publishing business. It was soon particularly known for its titles in the social sciences.

In 1985, Routledge & Kegan Paul joined with Associated Book Publishers (ABP),[12] 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.[13] In 2004, T&F became a division within Informa plc after a merger. Routledge continues as a publishing arm and imprint under the T&F division, with a majority of its titles' issued as academic humanities and social science books.


The famous English publisher Fredric Warburg was a commissioning editor at Routledge during the early 20th century. Felix Dodds sustainable development author and editor


Routledge has published many of the greatest thinkers and scholars of the last hundred years, including Adorno, Einstein, Russell, Popper, Wittgenstein, Jung, Bohm, Hayek, McLuhan, Marcuse and Sartre. The modernist works of these authors have appeared as part of the Routledge Classics and Routledge Great Minds series. Competitors to the series are Verso Book's Radical Thinkers, Penguin Classics and Oxford World's Classics.



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

Encyclopedic publications of Europa Publications, actually published by Routledge:

See also


  1. "Managing Director, Humanities & Social Science Books, Taylor & Francis Group". Informa.
  2. "About Us – Routledge". Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  3. "Publishing With Us – Routledge". Taylor & Francis Group. 2016.
  4. "Books merger yields windfall of £6m". The Independent. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  5. 1 2 "Yellowbacks: III – Routledge's Railway Library". Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  6. "UCL Library Services: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd Archives – 1850–1984". Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  7. Sutherland (2009:527,553).
  8. Barnes, James J.; Barnes, Patience P. (2004). "Routledge, George". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/24184. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  9. "Geni – William Henry Warne (1822–1859) – Genealogy". Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  10. " – Taylor and Francis Informa". Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  11. "Routledge, George (DNB00)". DNB. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  12. Whipp (1992:47)
  13. Clark & Phillips (2008:xvi); Cope (1998)


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