Disparate. Collegial. Decentralized. Collaborative.
If Chicago publishing professionals agree on one thing about the city's publishing scene, it's that it is not easy to characterize. About to celebrate 175 years as a major publishing hub (Chicago's first publisher, Robert Fergus, set up shop in 1839), today the city is ranked second in the printing and publishing industry, behind New York.
Some of the area's earliest publishers still survive, among them Rand McNally (est. 1856). Many houses are long gone, for example Reilly and Britton, which published L. Frank Baum's beloved Oz books. Some, like Scott, Foresman & Co. have been absorbed by other publishers. In fact, if Chicago publishing professionals lament one change that has taken place over the past decade or so, it is consolidation, to which a number of local publishers have fallen victim.