It is easy to see why Oxford is the second largest hotspot for publishers after London: only an hour away from the capital, with a literary and academic background that is hard to rival, the city has countless publishers of all kinds, perhaps the most renowned being that of its famous university ‘Oxford University Press’ whose headquarters lie in Jericho’s picturesque Walton Street. Macmillan is another well known educational publishers, whose headquarters occupy a (not quite so scenic) spot just before Cowley town centre. Also home to Wiley-Blackwell and Taylor and Francis, it isn’t surprising that Oxford excels in all things academic and educational. But this certainly isn’t the only area worth a mention within Oxford’s publishing scene for, unbeknown to many, there are countless smaller companies striving to bring out top quality material in everything from history to politics to fashion.
Oneworld, for example, publishes around 60 books a year in areas such as philosophy, religion gift and science. Originally focused on stimulating non-fiction, they have now successfully branched into fiction and have already garnered a strong international presence with their penchant for award-winning authors.
Berg of St Clements is another exciting publishers of an entirely different kind, with a focus on visual culture. Established in 1982, the company was acquired by Bloomsbury in 2008 and continues to go from strength to strength with its globally-renowned lavish tomes in everything from shoes to sports, anthropology to archaeology, food to fashion. The company also boasts a dynamic e-publishing programme which won it the ‘E-Publishing Award’ from the Independent Publishers Guild in 2008 and has recently expanded into journals. If you are interested in fashion, check out their website too as its online fashion library is really something special – winner of various awards such as the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair Digital Award and the 2011 Bookseller FutureBook Award for Best Website, is the only resource to provide integrated text and image content on world dress and fashion throughout history. Permanent access is available only to paying members but luckily there is a free 30-day trial so you can try before you buy!
A company that undoubtedly merits the phrase ‘quality, not quantity’ is Infinite Ideas, whose innovative collection of series based on creative thinking has led to work with numerous large UK brands such as Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Anne Summers – as well as huge popularity with the general public. Co-director Richard Burton regularly gives talks to publishing students at Oxford Brookes and the company ethos is strongly reflected in his engaging, humorous and slightly self-deprecating manner. A small but extremely amiable team with a strong focus on both author and audience, it is clear that publishing good quality content far outweighs any ceremonious marketing in this company, an approach which is refreshing to say the least.
And if, in the unlikely occasion, none of these appeal to your tastes, don’t worry as there are a myriad of others covering all manner of subjects: Oxbow and Osprey both cater to history buffs whilst Hart is dedicated to law students and professionals and Boardworks to educational software. And children need not worry either, with various exciting brands such as Lion Hudson, Barefoot Books and David Fickling all dedicated to providing first-rate material for younger readers. Of course the above barely even skims the surface of Oxford’s book providers but I’m sure you get the gist! Few other cities could boast such a sparkling array of publishers, all clamouring to bring the best quality content on every topic imaginable to a store near you. On that note, it can be seen that its sheer amount of publishers alone demonstrate Oxford as one to beat in the world of books – let’s just hope UNESCO agree!