University press, History

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Summary

A university press is an academic publishing house specializing in academic monographs and scholarly journals. Most are nonprofit and an integral component of a large research university. They publish work that has been reviewed by scholars in the field. They produce mainly scholarly works, but also often have "popular" titles designed to reach their target audience, such as books on religion or on regional topics. Because scholarly books are mostly unprofitable, university presses may also publish textbooks and reference works, which tend to have larger audiences and sell more copies. Most university presses operate at a loss and are subsidized by their owners; others are required to break even. In China, university presses are profit-making institutions for their academ

Details

Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press are the two oldest and largest university presses in the world. They have scores of branches around the world, especially in the states of the former British Empire

University presses emerged in the United States in the late 19th century. Cornell University started one in 1869 but had to close it down; Johns Hopkins University Press has been in continuous operation since 1878. Presses of the newly established Universities, Chicago (1891) and California (1893) followed with Columbia University (1893).

The biggest growth came after 1945 as higher education expanded rapidly. There was a leveling off after 1970.

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