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-“The Bible of Book Publishing” Serves Up 150 Years of Book Publishing News and Reviews -
NEW YORK—January 18, 2022—Publishers Weekly kicks off a yearlong celebration today to mark the magazine’s 150th anniversary. Several special events and promotions will roll out over the course of the year. Among the highlights are a commemorative issue of the magazine to be released on April 19, 2022, guest-edited by former co-editorial director Michael Coffey, and the rejuvenation of the Carey-Thomas Awards for distinguished publishing, details of which will be officially presented at the U.S. Book Show in May. To top it off, the Publishers Weekly Hall of Fame is in the planning stages and will be announced later in the year. In addition, anniversary-themed features “From the Archive” will run every week in the magazine—in print and online. Conceived and edited by Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly’s editorial director, the column will look back through the vast history of the magazine, beginning with the reprint of a page from Volume 1, Issue 1, dated January 18, 1872. Special editorial covers for all issues will feature contemporary authors with new books out. Jennifer Egan is the first such cover author.
“The history of book publishing in America is chronicled through the pages and volumes of Publishers Weekly,” said George Slowik, Jr., chairman and owner of PWxyz LLC, the parent company of Publishers Weekly. “To witness the 150th anniversary is an honor. The importance of this record cannot be underestimated as we champion freedom to publish and keeping diverse books on our library shelves and in schools.”
In anticipation of the 150th anniversary, Slowik, who with his partner, Patrick Turner, purchased Publishers Weekly in 2010, initiated the gargantuan task of digitizing the entire Publishers Weekly archive, the bound volumes of which line the walls of Publishers Weekly’s office located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The five-year effort culminated in the Publishers Weekly Digital Archive of more than 7,700 issues and nearly 675,000 pages, which is now managed and sold to libraries by archive specialists East View Information Services in Minneapolis.
The Publishers Weekly Book Publishing Almanac 2022 heralds the anniversary. The new reference work was a year in the making and offers a sweeping view of book publishing today, opening with an historical view of the industry from the perspective of Publishers Weekly’s own story. Drawing on Publishers Weekly’s extensive archive and subtitled “A Master Class in the Art of Bringing Books to Readers,” the reference, at 768 pages, covers adult trade and children’s book publishing.
A Brief History of Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly was born in 1872 as The Weekly Trade Circular and in 1873 renamed The Publishers’ Weekly (the article and the apostrophe were later dropped), a collective catalog where publishers pooled their resources to create one common presentation of new books, issued each week. The aim was to keep booksellers and librarians informed of forthcoming titles, and an array of features and articles were added as years went by.
The original creator of the magazine, and its first editor, was the German-born Frederick Leypoldt, a passionate bibliographer—so passionate and hardworking that he died prematurely, at the age of 49, in 1884. An early colleague in the enterprise was Richard Rogers Bowker, a literary journalist and also a keen bibliographer, who went on to create the R. R. Bowker Company. Bowker ultimately became the owner of Publishers Weekly, and later began to publish the massive annual Books in Print volumes and assign the International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) given to every published book.
Another key player in Publishers Weekly’s history, who joined the magazine in 1918 and was active with it for over 40 years, was Frederic G. Melcher, a polymath who served as secretary of the American Booksellers Association, helped create the National Association of Publishers and launched such notable book awards as the Newbery Medal and Caldecott Medal for children’s books and the Carey-Thomas Awards for distinguished publishing. He also created Children’s Book Week and was responsible for the early extensive coverage of children’s books that has remained a Publishers Weekly tradition.
Owned for much of the 20th century by R. R. Bowker (which in turn was collectively owned by its staff since 1933), Publishers Weekly, as part of Bowker, was included in the sale to the Xerox Corporation at the end of 1967, and for the next 43 years Publishers Weekly was in corporate hands. Xerox sold the magazine (and its sister publications, Library Journal and School Library Journal) to Britain’s Reed International in 1985, as part of its Cahners trade magazine division in the United States. Reed later combined with the Dutch giant Elsevier and in 2002 rebranded Cahners as Reed Business Information.
In 2008, Reed put its division of U.S. trade magazines up for sale and eventually began selling off individual magazines once it became clear that a deal for the entire portfolio could not be struck. In April 2010, Publishers Weekly was bought by Slowik, a magazine and web entrepreneur who had been Publishers Weekly’s publisher from 1990 to 1993.
Publishers Weekly has grown to become the international news platform it is today, with full horizontal coverage of book publishing beginning with the author-as-creator to publisher, printer and distributor to the end consumer. Its varied products are targeted at publishers, booksellers, librarians, literary agents, authors, book lovers and the media.
The magazine currently boasts 1.23 million social media followers; publishes 10 e-newsletters, BookLife (a website and monthly supplement), Publishers Weekly en Español (in partnership with Lantia), an Arabic edition, two blogs, podcasts, a mobile edition, digital editions and apps; and features a thriving website that reaches 14 million unique visitors annually.
In the last 10 years, Publishers Weekly has launched several events for the international publishing community, most notably the U.S. Book Show, which debuted in May 2021. The next show will be held virtually from May 24 – 26, 2022.
Other events include PubTechConnect, a series of high-level conversations about the convergence of technology and publishing, cosponsored by NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Publishing;
Library Lounge LIVE, a regular panel discussion on library topics; and PW Star Watch, an annual event to promote budding talent in the publishing industry and which celebrated its seventh year with a virtual event in September 2021.
High-resolution artwork and PW’s 150th anniversary logo are available here.
For more information, contact Christi Cassidy, +1-917-217-4269, email@example.com.