After 45 years in private ownership, the independent academic and trade publisher Boydell & Brewer relaunches as an Employee-Ownership Trust with a new website and a change of distribution in the UK.
The Early Years and the Development of a List
Growing out of the Leviathan Press, founded by historian Richard Barber with £100 in capital, Boydell & Brewer was formed in 1978 when the renamed Boydell Press merged with Professor Derek Brewer’s eponymous imprint.
Over the years further mergers added to Boydell’s impressive list of scholarly publications, building on the initial core list of medieval studies – Tamesis and Camden House, specialising in Spanish and German literature and culture; James Currey Ltd, a respected publisher of books on African issues – as well as a farsighted joint venture which saw the foundation of the University of Rochester Press in Rochester, New York.
At the heart of the Boydell & Brewer publishing programme are its highly-respected, peer-reviewed academic titles covering a range of subjects in the humanities and, latterly, social sciences. Some notable successes include:
- P.J.C. Field’s towering two-volume edition of Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur;
- The Eastman Studies in Music series, published by the University of Rochester Press, now approaching its 150th volume;
- The paperback original People, Markets, Goods series, born out of the Economic History Society;
- The foundation of York Medieval Press with the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York;
- Roberta Gilchrist’s Medieval Life, described as ‘vivid and rich in humanity’ by British Archaeology.
A highly-acclaimed trade list has been developed over the years. Some recent highlights include:
- Three bestselling books on the life of a performing classical musician by pianist Susan Tomes;
- Broadcaster and barrister Harry Potter’s history of the Common Law: Law, Liberty and the Constitution;
- David Burke’s intriguing tale of architecture and espionage in The Lawn Road Flats;
- Christopher Seaman’s guide to classical music on both sides of the baton, Inside Conducting;
- Catherine Karkov’s Art of Anglo-Saxon England.
Building a Robust Future
Boydell & Brewer has always been proudly independent. When the surviving founders decided to relinquish their shares and to step down from the board, an Employee-Ownership Trust was established.
Finally, in order to optimise the company for 21st century book-buying practice, Boydell & Brewer have appointed Wiley to take charge of distribution outside of the Americas, starting in June 2016.