Two businessmen with similar interests combine forces to form a book company. More than a hundred years later, one of their descendents oversees the multimillion dollar publishing corporation. Another two gentlemen hit a homerun their first time out with a runaway bestseller known as the crossword puzzle book. Fifteen years later, their company invents and sells the first “paperbacks.”
The histories of today’s major book publishers may be slightly different, but they all succeeded in a business that now boasts billions of dollars in sales a year.
James H. McGraw and John A. Hill combined The McGraw Publishing Co. and The Hill Publishing Co. to form the McGraw-Hill Book Company in 1909, according to the company’s Web site. Hill became president, and McGraw took the office of vice-president. After Hill died in 1916, McGraw took over as president and, in 1917, founded the McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., Inc. Now run by Harold W. McGraw III, the company employs 21,000 people and earned $6.35 billion in sales in 2008, as stated in “US Public Company Profiles, Disclosure Online Database.”
McGraw-Hill 1221 Ave. of the Americas New York, NY 10020-1095 (212) 512-2000 mcgraw-hill.com
According to the Scholastic website’s “People and History” page, the publishing house's name is synonymous with children’s education. Founded in 1920 by M.R. Robinson, Scholastic publishes “educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home,” especially children’s books. An international operation, Scholastic employs 9,000 people and earned $2.15 billion in sales in 2008.
Scholastic Corp. 557 Broadway New York, NY 10012 (212) 343-6100 scholastic.com
HarperCollins Publishers is the merger of two companies with separate histories. According to its Web site, J. & J. Harper was founded in 1817 by James and John Harper. After many name changes, Harper & Row became part of the News Corp. In 1990, News Corp. acquired William Collins & Sons, an English publisher that was founded in 1819. Today, HarperCollins employs 1,400 people and earned $13 billion in sales in 2008.
HarperCollins Publishers 10 E. 53rd St. New York, NY 10022 (212) 207-7000 harpercollins.com
Simon & Schuster
Founded in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster, the company’s first project became the first published crossword puzzle book, according to its website. Another of the publishing pair’s firsts was America’s first paperback publisher, Pocket Books. Now a subsidiary of the CBS Corporation, Simon & Schuster earned $857 million in 2008 and has 1,500 employees.
Simon & Schuster Inc. 1230 Ave. of the Americas, 11th Fl. New York, NY 10020 (212) 698-7000 simonandschuster.com
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
In 1880, George Mifflin became a partner in the struggling company started by Henry Houghton in 1848, according to Hoovers Company Records. Houghton Mifflin, as it was now known, built up sales in the education and nonfiction markets over the next several decades. In 2007, the company purchased Harcourt and became the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co., one of the leaders in educational book sales. The company earned $1.28 billion in 2008.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. 222 Berkeley St. Boston, MA 02116-3764 (617) 351-5000 hmco.com