City Spotlight: Book Publishing in Boston
A large piece of the industry here is focused on education and academic publishing.
"Boston is a major educational publishing hub, probably the major education publishing hub," Plain says. That includes K-12 and college publishing.
One of the major players in the K-12 arena is Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which has its corporate headquarters in Boston. Another major publisher in that area is college publisher Pearson. Yet another is Cengage Learning. "Cengage is a huge player. We're talking thousands of employees even in the Boston area," Plain says, adding that the same goes for HMH and Pearson.
Boston, not surprisingly given the concentration of high-profile institutions of higher learning, is also a center for university, scholarly and professional publishing, such as Harvard University Press and MIT Press, among others.
MIT Press recently celebrated 50 years of publishing. "We are an academic publisher with a strong bent for exploring innovative ideas. We publish books, journals and digital products for both scholarly and general readers," says Ellen Faran, director of the MIT Press, which she says "is known for quality, innovation and distinctive design."
Faran says Boston publishers are "strikingly distinctive."
"I'm thinking of Beacon Press, David R. Godine and The Harvard Common Press, for example. … Even publishers who share the same area within the publishing landscape have unique personalities such as Harvard University Press and the MIT Press," she says.
Harvard University Press celebrates 100 years of publishing this year. "I think Harvard University Press is among the larger publishing entities in the area, though not as large as Houghton overall by far," says William Sisler, director of Harvard University Press, which publishes about 170 to 180 new hardcovers a year, both trade and academic titles.
Other big areas of publishing in Boston include science, technology and medical (STM), societies and institutions, and some trade publishing, although this area is much smaller than it used to be, Plain says.
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