The UK’s Bloomsbury Buys the US-Based Rowman & Littlefield

In News by Porter Anderson

The acquisition of the American house Rowman & Littlefield, Bloomsbury UK says, will double its academic operations in the States.

Current catalogue listings from Rowman & Littlefield’s academic work. Image: Rowman & Littlefield

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Newton: ‘40,000 Academic Titles added to Ours’
In London today (May 29), Bloomsbury Publishing UK has announced its completion of last acquisition of the final academic imprints and associated titles of Rowman & Littlefield, the American independent publisher based in Lanham, Massachusetts.

The deal is classified by Bloomsbury as its biggest to date. The company sees the move as “significantly accelerating and strengthening Bloomsbury’s academic and digital presence in North America,” doubling the size of Bloomsbury’s academic and professional business in the United States.

Publishing Perspectives readers will note that this is a major transaction made between independent houses in the two world-leading English-language book-publishing markets.

Nigel Newton, Bloomsbury CEO, in today’s media messaging from London, is quoted, saying, “This acquisition is a game-changer for Bloomsbury.

Nigel Newton

“Rowman & Littlefield is one of the few independent US academic publishers of such scale and it’s great that our discussions with [Rowman & Littlefield president and CEO] Jed Lyons have led to this acquisition.

“Their 40,000 academic titles added to ours will make us a significant US academic publisher, growing Bloomsbury’s academic and digital publishing presence in North America, [and] opening new markets and publishing areas to Bloomsbury.

“It’s a key milestone in our long-term growth strategy.”

Rowman & Littlefield, a privately-owned independent publisher, was founded in 1949. It has operated in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and has held publishing partnerships with academic and professional institutions.

The company in Massachusetts plans a June release of its new 24-volume Revised Standard Edition of The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, with original translation by James Strachey and revisions, supplements, and editing by Marek Solms.

That release, retailing at US1,950 and £1,500, runs to an eye-watering 8,144 pages and is to be available in an ebook format as well as in print.

“Commissioned by the British Psychoanalytical Society and co-published by Rowman & Littlefield, it supplements Freud’s writing with substantial editorial commentaries through the lens of modern scholarship, and will no doubt be something that attracts the jury of the Association of American Publishers’ PROSE Awards, even as it takes its place on Bloomsbury’s Academic & Professional list.

Bloomsbury’s buy of academic assets of Rowman & Littlefield does not include other businesses, which include Globe Pequot—with the exception of the Applause and Backbeat imprints—nor the company’s its trade publishing arm, Sundance-Newbridge; its K-8 education business and National Book Network (NBN); or its trade distribution business.

Jed Lyons: ‘A Compelling Fit’

Speaking for Rowman & Littlefield, Lyons notes that 2024 marks the 75th anniversary of his company.

Jed Lyons“When Nigel Newton approached me and described his vision for how our academic businesses would complement Bloomsbury’s academic business, it soon became clear that there is a compelling fit.

“The superb publishing team that runs the Rowman & Littlefield’s academic business will find a welcoming home at Bloomsbury and our authors will benefit from the global reach of Bloomsbury’s sales and marketing efforts.”

At Publishers Lunch today, Erin Sommers reports that Bloomsbury has paid US$76 million “on completion of the deal, with up to $7 million in escrow to be paid after the business deal is completed.

Sabrina McCarthy

At Bloomsbury US, the Stateside president Sabrina McCarthy says, “The acquisition of the academic imprints of Rowman & Littlefield solidifies Bloomsbury Academic’s position in the United States and internationally as an important publisher. ”

McCarthy says that the move adds 115 colleagues to the team.

“Their academic expertise,” she says, as well as the British company’s “impressive list of authors and strong backlist will help to grow the Bloomsbury Digital Resources portfolio and title, offering in any format to academic readers” in many parts of the world.

More from Publishing Perspectives on mergers and acquisitions is here, more on Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom is here, and more on academic publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.