Macmillan Publishers (occasionally known as the Macmillan Group; formally Macmillan Publishers Ltd in the UK and Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC in the US) is a British publishing company traditionally considered to be one of the 'Big Five' English language publishers (along with Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster). Founded in London in 1843 by Scottish brothers Daniel and Alexander MacMillan, the firm would soon establish itself as a leading publisher in Britain. It published two of the best-known works of Victorian era children's literature, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (1894).[4][5]

Macmillan Publishers
Macmillan Publishers
Parent companyHoltzbrinck Publishing Group
Founded1843; 181 years ago (1843)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationLondon, United Kingdom
Key peopleDon Weisberg (CEO)[1]
Jon Yaged (President)[2]
Publication typesBooks, academic journals, magazines
Revenue$1.4 billion[3]

Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Harold Macmillan, grandson of co-founder Daniel, was chairman of the company from 1964 until his death in December 1986. Since 1999, Macmillan has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group with offices in 41 countries worldwide and operations in more than thirty others.


Macmillan logo for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, published in London on 26 November 1865

Macmillan was founded in London in 1843 by Daniel and Alexander MacMillan, two brothers from the Isle of Arran, Scotland. Daniel was the business brain, while Alexander laid the literary foundations, publishing such notable authors as Charles Kingsley (1855), Thomas Hughes (1859), Francis Turner Palgrave (1861), Christina Rossetti (1862), Matthew Arnold (1865) and Lewis Carroll (1865), with the latter first meeting Alexander in London on 19 October 1863.[6] Alfred, Lord Tennyson joined the list in 1884, Thomas Hardy in 1886 and Rudyard Kipling in 1890.[7]

Other major writers published by Macmillan included W. B. Yeats, Rabindranath Tagore, Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Seán O'Casey, John Maynard Keynes, Charles Morgan, Hugh Walpole, Margaret Mitchell, C. P. Snow, Rumer Godden and Ram Sharan Sharma.

Beyond literature, the company created such enduring titles as Nature (1869), the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1877) and Sir Robert Harry Inglis Palgrave's Dictionary of Political Economy (1894–99).

This logo appeared in Leslie Stephen's biography of Alexander Pope, published by Macmillan & Co in London in 1880.

George Edward Brett opened the first Macmillan office in the United States in 1869 and Macmillan sold its U.S. operations to the Brett family, George Platt Brett, Sr. and George Platt Brett, Jr. in 1896, resulting in the creation of an American company, Macmillan Publishing, also called The Macmillan Company (later known as Macmillan Inc.). Even with the split of the American company from its parent company in England, George Brett, Jr. and Harold Macmillan remained close personal friends. Macmillan Publishers held stake in the American company before divested it in 1951 and later re-entered the American market in 1952 under the name St. Martin's Press.[8]

Macmillan of Canada was founded in 1905; Maclean-Hunter acquired the company in 1973. Following numerous mergers, Macmillan Canada dissolved in 2002 after John Wiley & Co. acquired it.[9]

After retiring from politics in 1964, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Harold Macmillan, grandson of co-founder Daniel, became chairman of the company, serving until 1974 when he handed on the chairmanship to his son Maurice Macmillan[10](who in turn left the government, having been Paymaster General in the defeated government of Edward Heath) and took on the more honorific position of President[11] until his death in December 1986.[12] He had been with the family firm as a junior partner from 1920 to 1940 (when he became a junior minister), and from 1945 to 1951 while he was in the opposition in Parliament.

The German Holtzbrinck Publishing Group purchased the company in 1999.[13]

21st century

2008 conference booth

Pearson acquired the Macmillan name in America in 1998, following its purchase of the Simon & Schuster educational and professional group (which included various Macmillan Inc. properties and trademarks).[13] Holtzbrinck purchased it from them in 2001.[14] McGraw-Hill continues to market its pre-kindergarten through elementary school titles under its Macmillan/McGraw-Hill brand. The US operations of Holtzbrinck Publishing changed its name to Macmillan in October 2007.[13][15] Its audio publishing imprint changed its name from Audio Renaissance to Macmillan Audio, while its distribution arm was renamed from Von Holtzbrinck Publishers Services to Macmillan Publishers Services.[13] Pan Macmillan purchased Kingfisher, a British children's publisher, from Houghton Mifflin in October 2007. Roaring Brook Press publisher Simon Boughton would oversee Kingfisher's US business.[16]

By some estimates, as of 2009, e-books account for three to five per cent of total book sales, and are the fastest growing segment of the market.[17] According to The New York Times, Macmillan and other major publishers "fear that massive discounting [of e-books] by retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony could ultimately devalue what consumers are willing to pay for books." In response, the publisher introduced a new boilerplate contract for its authors that established a royalty of 20 per cent of net proceeds on e-book sales, a rate five per cent lower than most other major publishers.[17] Following the announcement of the Apple iPad on 27 January 2010—a product that comes with access to the iBookstore—Macmillan gave two options: continue to sell e-books based on a price of the retailer's choice (the "wholesale model"), with the e-book edition released several months after the hardcover edition is released, or switch to the agency model introduced to the industry by Apple, in which both are released simultaneously and the price is set by the publisher. In the latter case, would receive a 30 per cent commission.[18] Amazon responded by pulling all Macmillan books, both electronic and physical, from their website (although affiliates selling the books were still listed). On 31 January 2010, Amazon chose the agency model preferred by Macmillan.[19] In April 2012, the United States Department of Justice filed United States v. Apple Inc., naming Apple, Macmillan, and four other major publishers as defendants. The suit alleged that they conspired to fix prices for e-books, and weaken's position in the market, in violation of antitrust law.[20] In December 2013, a federal judge approved a settlement of the antitrust claims, in which Macmillan and the other publishers paid into a fund that provided credits to customers who had overpaid for books due to the price-fixing.[21]

In 2010, Macmillan Education submitted to an investigation on grounds of fraudulent practices.[22] The Macmillan division admitted to bribery in an attempt to secure a contract for an education project in southern Sudan.[22] As a direct result of the investigation, sanctions were applied by the World Bank Group, namely a six-year debarment (reduced from eight years due to an early acknowledgment of misconduct by the company) declaring the company ineligible to be awarded Bank-financed contracts.[23]

In December 2011, Bedford, Freeman, and Worth Publishing Group, Macmillan's higher education group, changed its name to Macmillan Higher Education while retaining the Bedford, Freeman, and Worth name for its k–12 educational unit.[15] Also, that month, Brian Napack resigned as Macmillan president while staying on for transitional purposes.[24]

In 2012, parent company Holtzbrinck reorganized; Macmillan's consumer publishing operations were now led by John Turner Sargent from New York City.[25]

In May 2015, London-based Macmillan Science and Education merged with Berlin-based Springer Science+Business Media to form Springer Nature, jointly controlled by Holtzbrinck Publishing Group and BC Partners.[26][27] The following month, it dissolved its British-based imprint Boxtree Limited, which Macmillan had operated since 1986.[28]

In January 2019, Toronto, Canada-based online writing community Wattpad announced an agreement with Macmillan [sic, Springer Nature America] for handling sales and distribution in the U.S. for its new publishing division Wattpad Books, alongside rival Penguin Random House that will handle the U.K. and India market, and Raincoast Books for the Canadian market.[29][30][31]

In November 2019, Macmillan announced that libraries would be able to buy only one copy of e-books for the first eight weeks after publication, in an effort to boost sales by creating long waits for borrowers at large library systems. This prompted complaints and some libraries boycotted the company; the policy was reversed in March 2020.[32]

In September 2020, Macmillan announced that CEO John Sargent will be leaving at the end of the year due to "a disagreement regarding the direction of Macmillan." According to Holtzbrinck spokesperson Erin Coffey, the decision was made by Stefan von Holtzbrinck, CEO of the Holtzbrinck group.[33]



US publishing divisions with imprints

  • Celadon Books
  • Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Flatiron Books
    • Flatiron Books
    • Flatiron Books: An Oprah Book
  • Henry Holt and Company
  • Macmillan Audio – formerly Audio Renaissance[13]
  • Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
    • Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers
    • Feiwel and Friends
    • First Second Books – Graphic novels
    • Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
    • Imprint[35]
    • Neon Squid Books[36]
    • Odd Dot[37]
    • Priddy Books
    • Roaring Brook Press[38]
    • Square Fish
    • Swoon Reads
  • St. Martin's Publishing Group
  • Tom Doherty Associates

Other US divisions


Pan Macmillan UK imprints

  • Bello
  • Bluebird
  • Campbell
  • Kingfisher
  • Macmillan's Children's Books
  • Macmillan Collector's Library
  • Mantle
  • Pan Books
  • Macmillan
  • Picador
  • Tor
  • Two Hoots

See also



  1. ^ Alter, Alexandra (17 September 2020). "Macmillan C.E.O. John Sargent Is Departing". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Yaged Named President of Macmillan Trade".
  3. ^ "The Largest Book Publishers in 2021". Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  4. ^ Jaques, Zoe; Giddens, Eugene (6 May 2016). Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass: A Publishing History. Routledge. p. 16. doi:10.4324/9781315592275. ISBN 978-1-317-10552-7.
  5. ^ "The Macmillan Jungle Book Colouring Book Free Monkey Pattern Download". WH Smith. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  6. ^ Cohen, Morton N. (1996). Lewis Carroll: A Biography. Vintage Books. p. 126. ISBN 9780679745624.
  7. ^ "About Pan Macmillan". Pan Macmillan UK. Archived from the original on 16 October 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  8. ^ The Macmillan Story (PDF). 2017. p. 65.
  9. ^ Oberman, Mira (12 June 2002). "CDG sells off book list". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 1 June 2024.
  10. ^ 'Who's Who' 1981 edition page 1678
  11. ^ 'Who's Who' 1985 edition page 1848
  12. ^ "Harold Macmillan (1894–1986)". BBC.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Milliot, Jim (9 October 2007). "Holtzbrinck's U.S. Arm Now Macmillan". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  14. ^ Bookseller,
  15. ^ a b "News Briefs: Macmillan Rebrands Higher Education Division". Publishers Weekly. 30 December 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  16. ^ a b "News Briefs: Macmillan Buys Kingfisher". 5 October 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  17. ^ a b Rich, Motoko (28 October 2009). "Macmillan Lowers E-Book Payments for Authors". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  18. ^ Motoko Rich and Brad Stone (31 January 2010). "Publisher Wins Fight With Amazon Over E-Books". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  19. ^ The Amazon Kindle team (31 January 2010). "Macmillan E-books". Kindle Community. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  20. ^ Mui, Ylan Q. and Hayley Tsukayama (11 April 2012). "Justice Department sues Apple, publishers over e-book prices". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  21. ^ Molina, Brett (25 March 2014). "E-book price fixing settlements rolling out". USA Today. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  22. ^ a b "Macmillan admits to bribery over World Bank Sudan aid deal". Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  23. ^ "The World Bank Group Debars Macmillan Limited for Corruption in World Bank-supported Education Project in Southern Sudan". World Bank. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  24. ^ "News Briefs: Napack Resigns As Macmillan President". Publishers Weekly. 30 December 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  25. ^ (18 June 2012). "Reorganization at Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck". Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  26. ^ "Nature publisher to merge with Springer". Times Higher Education. 15 January 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  27. ^ Caroline Carpenter (6 May 2015). "Completed merger forms 'Springer Nature'". The Bookseller. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  28. ^ Companies House. "Boxtree Limited | Company number 02011388". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 25 December 2023. Incorporated on 17 April 1986 | Dissolved on 23 June 2015
  29. ^ "Wattpad Launches Wattpad Books, a New Publishing Division to Bring Diverse, Data-Backed Stories to Book-Lovers Everywhere". Wattpad HQ. Archived from the original on 7 January 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  30. ^ "Penguin Random House UK collaborates with Wattpad Books to bring global Wattpad hits to readers in the UK". Wattpad HQ. Archived from the original on 7 January 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  31. ^ "Penguin Random House India Partners with Wattpad to Showcase Exclusive Content and Innovative Promotions". Wattpad HQ. Archived from the original on 7 January 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  32. ^ Publisher Macmillan Backs Off Policy Restricting E-Book Sales To Libraries
  33. ^ "Macmillan CEO forced out over 'direction' of company". The Independent. 17 September 2020. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  34. ^ "Andy Cohen to Launch His Own Book Imprint". The Hollywood Reporter. 9 June 2016.
  35. ^ Imprints' official page.
  36. ^ "BookExpo 2018: Macmillan Kids' Imprint, Odd Dot, Makes Its Debut".
  37. ^ "Macmillan Children's to Add Neon Squid Nonfiction Imprint".
  38. ^ "Holtzbrinck to Buy Roaring Brook Press". Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  39. ^ "SMP Launching Crossover Imprint, Wednesday Books".
  40. ^ "Saturday Books, Imprint with New Adult Focus, to Launch Next Fall at Macmillan".

Further reading