Oxford University Press, a department of the University of Oxford, has a remarkably diverse publishing program that reaches far beyond traditional university presses. OUP publishes in more than 40 languages under a variety of print and digital formats that cover an extremely broad academic and educational spectrum. OUP's list is aimed at all audiences, from pre-school to secondary level schoolchildren; students to academics; general readers to researchers; and individuals to institutions.
OUP is driven by the University of Oxford's objectives for excellence in scholarship, research, and education.
OUP currently publishes roughly 6,000 titles a year worldwide, selling more than 110 units per year, mostly outside of the UK.
Key Company Developments in 2012 & 2013
Sales from all publishing divisions in 2011/12 were 695 million GBP, a 10% rise in overall organic sales for the year ending March 31, 2012.
Ownership, Mergers & Acquisition, Internal Organization:
At the beginning of 2013, The Bookseller reported that OUP acquired education publisher Nelson Thornes from Infinitas Learning for an undisclosed sum. Nelsen Thornes publishes primary, secondary and vocational teaching resources.
In March 2013, OUP told The Bookseller it would begin the consultation process with staff in the publishing division of its ELT arm this week, as a prelude to reorganising its publishing activities, what "may result in a number of redundancies", as an OUP spokesperson said. It is noted that “the process of reorganization [of the ELT Division] is expected to see a significant change in roles, reporting lines, and accountabilities for some employees in publishing roles, new roles will be created, others may change, and some current roles will no longer exist."
After making a number if investments in emerging markets to take advantage of rising demand, sales increased 16%. OUP focused on publishing boooks for schools in South America, the Middle East, and Asia. New series were launched for the Spanish and UK markets, resources for new curricula in Australia and South Africa were developed, and a complete management system for private language schools was developed for Brazil.
Digital publishing sales increased by 20% over the year, representing 17% of OUP's total and 45% of academic sales.
Oxford University Press put its scholarly editions online for the first time in a digital initiative launched in September 2012. Oxford Scholarly Editions Online (OSEO) will carry 171 OUP scholarly editions of works by authors active between 1485 and 1660, including around 7,000 poems, 200 plays and 5,000 letters.
OUP now publishes 14,000 e-books, of which more than 5,000 were added last year, and sales of these titles have increased more than threefold in the last 12 months. Last year, a new platform was launched, University Press Scholarship Online, which builds on the success of Oxford Scholarship Online by offering digital access to current and long out of print monographs from other university presses. More than 110 journals now use some kind of open access model, while a growing number of titles are available as apps and e-books, or from mobile devices.
Bestselling Authors & Titles:
Aside from selling strongly in print form, Jonathan Steinberg’s Bismarck biography, a popular trade history title, was one of the Press’s most popular e-books last year, selling thousands of copies in electronic format.
Key Points for Analysis & Conclusions:
OUP has expanded in emerging markets and focused on investing in digital services, accessibility and distribution, combining online access services as well as e-book offerings of its titles.
Challenges included, according to OUP, the retail sector, particularly in developed regions, as the market shifted from ‘bricks and mortar’ retail to online in 2011. The retail environment was also weak in Australia and Canada.
The pressure on institutional library budgets in developed markets has continued throughout 2010, with institutions across the UK and Europe seeing real budget cuts of 10–15 per cent on content acquisition. This picture is likely to worsen through 2011. “However, many markets, including the Middle East and Asia, are not facing comparative budget cuts.”
Sales for 2010/11 were 649 million GBP, representing organic growth of more than six per cent. All except one of OUP’s publishing divisions achieved growth, driven by “creation of exceptional resources, rooted in the University’s commitment to education and research for the benefit of people across the world” (Annual report 2011).
Emerging markets now account for 37 per cent of OUP’s global sales
Against widespread expectations of a decline in institutional book sales, the UK Academic Division increased its revenues in 2009/10 based on a strong performance outside the UK and continued growth in online sales.
Oxford Scholarship Online, a platform for monographs, was launched in 2006 and has become one of the company's most successful academic online products, with 634 subscribing institutions worldwide.
More recently, OUP published Oxford Bibliographies Online (OBO), an online-only resource designed to help researchers to find reliable sources by directing them to the best scholarship available.
2008/2009 had been anticipated to be a year under the impact of the economic downturn, which was particularly felt in the US retail market, according to the Annual Report 2009. However, as an academic publisher, OUP was less impacted than publishers in the trade market.
OUP saw growth in online journal usage, based on open access models and fair pricing.