From HandWiki
Short description: British multinational academic publisher
Routledge logo.svg
Parent companyTaylor & Francis
Founded1851; 173 years ago (1851)
FounderGeorge Routledge
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationMilton Park, Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, UK
DistributionWorld wide
Key peopleJeremy North
(MD Books)[1]
Publication typesBooks and academic journals
Nonfiction topicsHumanities, social science, behavioral science, education, law

Routledge (/ˈrtlɪ/ ROWT-lij)[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 the 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 140,000 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 became 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

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, with the additions of backlists from Methuen, Tavistock Publications, Croom Helm and Unwin Hyman.[20] In 1996, a management buyout financed by the European private equity firm Cinven saw Routledge operating as an independent company once again. In 1997, Cinven acquired journals publisher Carfax and book publisher Spon.[21] In 1998, 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.[22]

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.[23][24][25] Humanities and social sciences titles acquired by T&F from other publishers are rebranded under the Routledge imprint.[24]

Routledge is a signatory of the SDG Publishers Compact,[26][27] and has taken steps to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These include achieving CarbonNeutral® publication certification for their print books and journals, under the Natural Capital Partners' CarbonNeutral Protocol.[28]


The 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.[29] Cultural studies editor William Germano served as vice-president and publishing director for two decades before becoming dean of the humanities at Cooper Union.[30]


Routledge has published works from Adorno, Bohm, Butler, Derrida, Einstein, Foucault, Freud, Al Gore, Hayek, Jung, Levi-Strauss, McLuhan, Malinowski, Marcuse, Popper, Johan Rockström, Russell, Sartre, and Wittgenstein. The republished works of some of these authors have appeared as part of the Routledge Classics[31] and Routledge Great Minds series. Competitors to the series are Verso Books' Radical Thinkers, Penguin Classics, and Oxford World's Classics.[citation needed]


Routledge has been criticised for a pricing structure which "will limit readership to the privileged few", as opposed to options for open access offered by DOAJ, Unpaywall, and DOAB.[32]

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:

  • Europa World Year Book[34]
  • International Who's Who[35]
  • Europa World of Learning[36]

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.[37] The company also publishes several online encyclopedias and collections of digital content such as Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy,[33] Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism,[38] Routledge Performance Archive,[39] and South Asia Archive.[40]

Routledge Worlds series consisted of 66 books as of July 2023, which the publisher described as "magisterial surveys of key historical epochs".[41] Included in the series are The Sikh World, The Pentecostal World, published in 2023, The Quaker World, The Ancient Israelite World, and The Sámi World published in 2022.[41]

Book series

  • The Broadway Travellers (1926–37)[42] edited by Eileen Power and Edward Denison Ross.
  • Colloquial Series of Multimedia Language Courses[43]
  • Essential Grammars (since 1999)[44]
  • Morley's Universal Library (also known as: Routledge's Universal Library) (1883–88)[45]
  • The Muses' Library (1904–1940; 1950–1980)
    established in 1891 by Lawrence & Bullen as a series of fine editions of poetry until L&B folded in 1900, Routledge revived the series in 1904 with reprints and new titles. Over the years parallel editions were published in the US by Charles Scribner's Sons, E.P. Dutton and Harvard University Press[46]
  • The Republic of Letters[47]
  • Routledge's Railway Library (1848–99)
    were sold through W. H. Smith's bookstalls on railway platforms; in 50 years 1,277 books were published, most as pictorial hardbacks, with some bestsellers re-released as cheaper paperbacks. Authors included Edward Bulwer Lytton, James Fenimore Cooper, Jane Austen, Benjamin Disraeli, Henry Fielding, Frances Trollope, William Harrison Ainsworth, Alexandre Dumas, and Victor Hugo[10]



  1. "Managing Director, Humanities & Social Science Books, Taylor & Francis Group". Informa. 
  2. Template:Cite RDPCE
  3. "About Us – Routledge". 
  4. "Publishing With Us – Routledge". Taylor & Francis Group. 2016. 
  5. "Outsell HSS Market Size Share Forecast". 
  6. "Books merger yields windfall of £6m". The Independent. 23 October 2011. 
  7. "Academic Publishing". 
  8. "T&F Group Global Offices". 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Yellowbacks: III – Routledge's Railway Library". 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Wagner, David Paul. "Routledge's Railway Library (George Routledge)". Book Series List. Publishing History. 
  11. "UCL Library Services: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd Archives – 1850–1984". 
  12. Sutherland (2009:527,553).
  13. 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.)
  14. "Geni – William Henry Warne (1822–1859) – Genealogy". 12 June 1822. 
  15. " – Taylor and Francis Informa". 
  16. "Routledge, George (DNB00)".,_George_%28DNB00%29. 
  17. "The Lucile Project,"PUBLISHER: Kegan Paul, Trench & Company; Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Company, London"". 
  18. Franklin (1987),
  19. Whipp (1992:47)
  20. Richardson, Jean (1996-05-13). "U.K. venture firm to buy Routledge". Publishers Weekly 243 (20): 16–17. ISSN 0000-0019. Retrieved 2022-10-30. 
  21. Kernan, M. A. (2013). "Routledge as a global publisher: A case study, 1980-2010". Publishing Research Quarterly 29 (1): 52–72. doi:10.1007/s12109-013-9304-9. ISSN 1053-8801. Retrieved 2023-03-23. 
  22. Clark & Phillips (2008:xvi); Cope (1998)
  23. Academic Publishing Industry: A Story of Merger and Acquisition - Taylor & Francis.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Taylor & Francis
  25. "Results for 12 months to 31st December 2015". 
  26. "SDG Publishers Compact Members". 
  27. "SDG Publishers Compact". 
  28. "Our Commitment to Sustainable Publishing". 
  29. "About Nina Stibbe". 
  30. "William Germano, Editor and Key Figure in Rise of Cultural Studies, Is Ousted by Publishing House". 15 September 2005. 
  31. "Routledge Classics and Routledge Great Minds". 
  32. Barbara Fister. "The Writing on the Unpaywall". 
  33. 33.0 33.1 "Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy". 
  34. "Europa World Online". 
  35. "World Who's Who". 
  36. "The Europa World of Learning". 
  37. "Routledge Handbooks Online". 
  38. "Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism". 
  39. "Routledge Performance Archive". 
  40. "South Asia Archive". 
  41. 41.0 41.1 "Routledge Worlds - Book Series - Routledge & CRC Press". 
  42. Stone, Thomas E.. "Collecting The Broadway Travellers Series". 
  43. Colloquial Series , Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  44. "Routledge Essential Grammars – Book Series – Routledge & CRC Press".,forthcoming&pg=3&pp=12&so=pub&view=list. 
  45. Morley's Universal Library (George Routledge) - Book Series List , Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  46. Krygier, John (28 March 2016). "Muses' Library". Ohio Wesleyan University. 
  47. Krygier, John (December 2017). "Republic of Letters". Ohio Wesleyan University. 


External links

  • History of Routledge
  • Routledge Revivals: Reprints from humanities and social sciences publications, from the backlists of Routledge imprints.
  • Routledge & Kegan Paul Archives: Ledgers, authors' agreements, printed catalogues and other papers 1853–1973, University College London.
  • Records of Routledge & Kegan Paul: Correspondence files covering the period 1935 to 1990, as well as review files 1950s–1990s, Special Collections, University of Reading Library.
  • Archives of George Routledge & Company 1853–1902, Chadwyck-Healey Ltd, 1973. 6 reels of microfilm and printed index. (Available from ProQuest)
  • Archives of Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Henry S. King 1858–1912, Chadwyck-Healey Ltd,1973. 27 reels of microfilm with index on microfiche. (Available from Proquest)