This year is a special one for Publishers Weekly. On Jan. 18, 1872, the first issue of The Weekly Trade Circular was published, and one year later the magazine was renamed The Publishers’ Weekly (the article and the apostrophe were later dropped). To mark this milestone, PW has created a new logo, and we will be unveiling a range of special initiatives over the course of the year. Beginning today, we will be digging into our digital archive each week to look back on important events that we have reported on over the past 150 years. On page 14, you’ll find the lead story in the first issue of the magazine.
Other plans include the publication of a special 150th anniversary issue on April 19, which will present a detailed look at how the industry has changed since our 125th anniversary in 1997. A (hopefully) in-person party is being planned in New York City in late May, during the U.S. Book Show, a virtual event started by PW last year to help plug the void created by the closure of BookExpo.
The digital archive and the launch of the U.S. Book Show are just two of the additions made at PW since George Slowik Jr. and his partner, Patrick Turner, bought the magazine in April 2010 from Reed Business Information, following the decision by parent company Reed Elsevier to leave the trade magazine publishing business.
PW has a long history of being involved with innovation in the industry. After the creator of the magazine, Frederick Leypoldt, died at age 49 in 1884, a colleague, Richard Rogers Bowker, became an important figure for PW. Bowker was the founder of the R.R. Bowker Co., and after Leypoldt’s death he became PW’s owner. Years later, when PW was still part of Bowker, the company developed Books in Print and created and assigned ISBNs.
Another key player in PW’s history was Frederic G. Melcher, who joined the magazine in 1918 and helped create the National Association of Publishers and launch such notable book awards as the Newbery and Caldecott medals for children’s books and the Carey-Thomas Awards for distinguished publishing.
PW was still part of the company when Bowker was sold to Xerox at the end of 1967. Eighteen years later, PW and its sister publications, Library Journal and School Library Journal, were sold to Britain’s Reed International and became part of Reed’s Cahners trade magazine division in the U.S. Cahners was later rebranded as Reed Business Information and remained PW’s home until its rescue by Slowik and Turner.
Though PW has gone through numerous owners and expanded well beyond a single print magazine, we still remain dedicated to providing all segments of the book publishing community with the resources they need to succeed. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the years ahead.