Cambridge University Press is an integral part of the University of Cambridge and shares the university's objectives to advance knowledge, education, learning, and research. CUP’s list is comprised of 50,000 peer-reviewed academic research and professional-development titles, and also publishes 375 research journals and is active in school-level education, English language teaching and bible publishing. The publisher is divided into three main groups: Academic, Cambridge English, and Education, with 50 offices in 39 countries.
Since 1698, CUP has been governed by ‘Syndics’ (originally known as the 'Curators'), a group of 18 senior academics from the University of Cambridge who represent a wide variety of subjects.
CUP was founded in 1534 by Henry VIII, and is both the oldest publishing house in the world and the oldest university press. CUP also holds the Royal Letters Patent as the Queen’s Printer.
Analysis & Key Developments
The Cambridge University Press closed fiscal 2016 unchanged in comparison to the previous year, with revenues stable at 269 million GBP. Underlying sales growth on a constant currency basis was 1.5%, reflecting higher growth in Education offset by challenging conditions in Academic books. Operating profit before exceptional one-off costs was flat at 6.5 million GBP. The fiscal year ended 30 April 2016.
According to CEO Peter Phillips, the publishing house “saw some underlying growth on a constant currency basis in our overall sales, and in our publishing for teachers and students in 2015–16. This was a pleasing performance when set against difficult market conditions for the publishing industry as a whole.“
CUP announced a partnership with Kudos, a free web-based service, which helps authors to present their articles in a way designed to cut through the growing quantity of research to reach the right audience.
CUP deepened its the partnership with Cambridge Assessment to publish exam preparation material and coursework. Cambridge Assessment is set to move into a new headquarters building across from CUP’s Shaftesbury Road head office.
In August 2016 CUP signed cooperation agreements with China’s largest trade publisher China Publishing Group (CPG).
Ninety percent of CUP’s sales are earned outside the UK, though the press recorded remarkably strong growth in markets like China, Spain, the Gulf and Mexico. The international test-prep business also continued rapid growth during fiscal 2016, thanks to strong demand in areas such as India, Asia and the Middle East.
The education segment had particular success in the highly competitive Australian market, based around new secondary school mathematics products, which blend text and digital content. In India, a market where CUP continues to see great potential, the press enjoyed a year of exceptional growth. The company laid the groundwork to enter the large Nigerian market in 2016–17. The American market was further complicated by consolidation and destocking among library suppliers and college bookstore chains. CUP closed an unprofitable third-party distribution operation in Japan, reflecting the market decline of physical book distribution.
In summer 2016 CUP launched its new digital platform Cambridge Core, a high-performance replacement for Cambridge Journals Online and Cambridge Books Online, which improves cross-referencing for users. With over one million journal articles and 30,000 books, Cambridge Core embodies the new central destination for academic research at CUP. “Cambridge Core underscores how digital is now at the heart of all we do. Digital products are growing very strongly and by the end of the year were running at a third of our revenues. Digital demands are central to all our investment decisions.“ said Phillips.
CUP launched a joint project with the Faculty of Education in 2016 to support educational reform in Kazakhstan by providing Open Access journals in the global health field.