The Early Years
In 1807, Charles Wiley, then 25 years old, opened a small printing shop at 6 Reade Street in lower Manhattan, New York City. During the next few years, he printed titles for several other publishers. In 1812 and 1813, Charles printed a few titles from a shop at 28 Provost (now Franklin) Street, including some for the legal profession that he financed and distributed himself, emerging clearly as a publisher for the first time.
In 1814, Charles formed a printing, publishing, and bookselling partnership with Cornelius Van Winkle, a noted printer, and opened a bookstore at 3 Wall Street. At this site Charles also hosted "The Den," a meeting place for writers such as James Fenimore Cooper, William Cullen Bryant, and others interested in establishing a new American literature. Wiley and Van Winkle ended their partnership in 1820 when Charles chose to focus on publishing and bookselling and began hiring others to do his printing. He published James Fenimore Cooper's The Spy in 1821 and helped to launch this first American novelist's career. Charles also published works by Richard Henry Dana, Washington Irving, and many other writers, as well as scientific, technical, and medical titles that foreshadowed the company’s activities in the second half of the century.
When Charles Wiley died in 1826, his son John, then age 17, took over the family business, probably with the initial help of his mother, Lydia. Over the next 65 years, he continued as a bookseller and publisher, promoting American and European authors and extending the company’s offerings in practical and professional topics. In 1834, he hired George Putnam as a junior partner, and in 1838, Putnam established a branch office in London, the first of its kind for an American publisher. Wiley & Putnam achieved prominence with such works as Herman Melville's Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life, Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven and Other Poems, and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Mosses from an Old Manse. They also published the works of European writers such as Hans Christian Andersen, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Wiley and Putnam went their separate ways in 1848. John gradually shifted his focus away from literary publishing and emphasized scientific, technical, medical, and other types of nonfiction publishing. In 1865, his eldest son, Charles, became involved in the business, which then became known as John Wiley & Son, updated to John Wiley & Sons in 1876, when his second son, William Halsted Wiley (also known as "the Major" for his involvement in the Civil War), came on board. John's youngest son, Osgood, also worked briefly in the family business. William O. Wiley, the eldest son of Charles and grandson of John, joined the firm in 1890. John Wiley continued to run the company until his death in 1891, at which time the Major took over.
Under the leadership of John and his sons, the company took advantage of the tremendous opportunities in science and technology publishing that were being created by the second Industrial Revolution, thus laying the foundation for Wiley's worldwide reputation in these markets today. Over the next several decades, Wiley continued to expand into new fields, including electrical, civil, and mechanical engineering, architecture, construction, agriculture, and organic, physical, and analytical chemistry. By the early 1900s, Wiley was well established as a leading publisher in science and technology.
The passage of an international copyright law in 1891 stemmed the tide of piracy that had undercut the publishing business throughout the century and readied John’s sons to expand into the global marketplace. In 1895, Wiley entered into an agreement with Chapman & Hall of London to act as its sole agent in Great Britain and Europe, and signed similar agreements in Canada, Shanghai, and Manila.
On January 16, 1904, the family business incorporated, with William H. Wiley as President, Charles Wiley as Vice President, and William O. Wiley as Secretary. Edward P. Hamilton (the son of Alice Wiley Hamilton, who was the sister of Charles Wiley and William H. Wiley) joined the company in 1914 to assist William O. Wiley, who became its president in 1925 following the death of the Major. In 1932, William Bradford Wiley, the grandson of Osgood and great-grandson of John, joined as a “college traveler” securing textbook adoptions and representing the fifth generation to work in the family business.
During the first few decades of the 20th century, Wiley branched out into social sciences and business management publishing as these disciplines became increasingly important for students and professionals. At the same time, the company increased its focus on postsecondary educational publishing.
In 1929, sales topped one million dollars for the first time, and although the stock market crash had an impact, sales rebounded dramatically between 1933 and 1938, demonstrating the countercyclical nature of knowledge publishing as new titles addressed the nation’s woes during the Great Depression. The onset of World War II in 1941 (the year in which William O. Wiley became Chairman of the Board and was succeeded as President by Edward P. Hamilton) triggered further expansion for Wiley’s type of publishing, as did the postwar boom, which sent millions of GIs back to college and increased the demand for Wiley's college and graduate-level textbooks and scientific and technical monographs. By 1948, Wiley's revenue reached $5.6 million and the company employed more than 225 people.
Building a Modern Corporation
In 1956, the year before the company celebrated its 150th anniversary, W. Bradford Wiley, then 46, succeeded his cousin Hamilton as President and Chief Executive Officer; Hamilton became Chairman of the Board and William O. Wiley retired. Brad assimilated modern business practices into the company’s operations, and the following years were a time of significant expansion and change. Wiley acquired Interscience Publishers in 1961, which brought the company into modern journals publishing and provided a new platform for its scientific and technical publishing operations. With revenue of $15 million, Wiley was now the fourth-largest publishing house in the U.S. One year later, shares in the company were offered to employees and the public for the first time, ending 155 years of private ownership. After five decades in the Wiley Building at 440 Fourth Avenue (now named Park Avenue South), Wiley moved its worldwide headquarters to 605 Third Avenue. Distribution operations were expanded in Salt Lake City in 1962 (subsequently closed in 1988) and Somerset, New Jersey in 1967.
Those years also brought another surge in international growth. Subsidiaries were established in London in 1959 (moving to Chichester in 1968); Australia in 1963; India in 1965; and Toronto, Canada in 1968. In subsequent years, Wiley expanded its global operations to Singapore, Japan, and Germany and set up sales offices on every continent.
Andrew H. Neilly, Jr., who joined Wiley's sales and marketing department in 1947, was named President and Chief Operating Officer in 1971 and Chief Executive Officer in 1979, thus becoming the first non-family member appointed to this position. W. Bradford Wiley continued to provide strong leadership as Chairman of the Board, a role he kept until 1993. His interest in the business remained keen until his death in 1998. His daughter, Deborah E. Wiley, became the first member of the sixth generation of the family in the business when she joined its staff in 1968. She retired as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, at the close of 2010. Her brothers, Bradford Wiley II and Peter Booth Wiley, have also become active in the company's operations and governance. A Director since 1979, Brad Wiley II succeeded his father as Chairman of the Board in 1993; he was also an editor in the College Division from 1989 to 1998. Peter Wiley joined the company's Board of Directors in 1984, and in September 2002, he was installed as Chairman, succeeding Brad, who continues to serve as a Board member.
Wiley’s postwar focus on college textbook publishing increased until, by the 1980s, it contributed the largest share of the company’s revenue. A sustained effort in knowledge-based trade publishing began in 1977 with the purchase of Ronald Press, which brought a valuable backlist of business and accounting titles.
In 1980, sales reached $100 million. As Wiley celebrated its 175th year of publishing in 1982, it expanded into the area of business education and training with the acquisition of Wilson Learning Corporation. In 1984, Wiley acquired Scripta-Technica, a scientific journals publisher and translator. The Business, Law, and General Books division (soon renamed the Professional/Trade publishing division, and later changed to Professional Development in 2012) was founded in 1985.
Ruth McMullin joined Wiley in 1987 as Chief Operating Officer and succeeded Andrew Neilly as President and Chief Executive Officer in 1988. The company's growth had slowed, especially in the College Division, and there was a recognition that Wiley had to make changes to continue to prosper.
In 1990, Charles R. Ellis succeeded Ruth McMullin as President and Chief Executive Officer. He had joined Wiley in 1988 as Senior Vice President, Professional Group (which included journals, STM publishing, and the Professional/Trade publishing division, now known as Professional Development) and had subsequently been appointed Executive Vice President and President of Wiley Publishing Group.
Planning, Expansion, and Prosperity
Under Charles Ellis's leadership, the company sharpened its focus to improve profitability and gain market share. A strategic program was developed and implemented to strengthen its core businesses through acquisitions, alliances, and organic growth; divest programs that were not contributing to the company's success; grow globally; and invest in technology to evolve the business.
Wiley significantly expanded its scientific, technical, and medical publishing program with the 1989 acquisition of Alan R. Liss, Inc., a leading publisher of journals and books in the life sciences. In 1996, Wiley acquired a 90% interest in VCH, an important scientific, technical, and professional publisher based in Germany, for approximately $99 million. VCH has a longstanding publishing partnership with the German Chemical Society, and the acquisition of the VCH Group further strengthened Wiley's leadership in these markets.
In 1997, Wiley acquired Van Nostrand Reinhold (VNR), an eminent publishing imprint of books and electronic products for professionals in architecture/design, environmental/industrial science, culinary arts/hospitality, and business technology, for approximately $28 million. Various smaller acquisitions also added to growth throughout the mid- and late 1990s, and publishing partnerships and alliances offered still another avenue for expansion; through Wiley's alliance with the American Cancer Society, the company became the publisher of Cancer, the Society's flagship journal, in 1995.
In 1998, William J. Pesce was named President and Chief Executive Officer, becoming the 10th leader of the company since its inception in 1807. A member of the company's senior management team since 1989, Will led the turnaround of the College Division and contributed significantly to the growth and profitability of the company's global publishing programs.
Wiley established www.wiley.com as its corporate Web site in May 1995. The site has evolved considerably since then, and now offers the full range of Wiley's products, brands, and services. Wiley InterScience launched commercially in January 1999 as the company's online platform for scientific, technical, medical, and professional content. The site was replaced in August 2010 by Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com, described below).
In 1999, three important acquisitions strengthened the company's core businesses, which specialize in publishing print and electronic products for the professional, consumer, scientific, technical, medical, higher education, and lifelong learning markets. Wiley acquired Pearson Education's college textbooks and instructional packages in biology/anatomy and physiology; engineering; mathematics; economics/finance; and teacher education, for approximately $58 million, and the San Francisco-based Jossey-Bass, a publisher of books and journals for professionals and executives in business, psychology, education, and health management for approximately $81 million. The company also acquired the J.K. Lasser tax and financial guides to enhance its already strong presence in the tax and financial planning market.
In 2001, Wiley acquired Hungry Minds, Inc., for approximately $184.9 million. Through this acquisition, a portfolio of high-profile brands came under the Wiley umbrella, including the For Dummies series, the Webster's New World™ dictionaries and CliffsNotes™ study guides, the Frommer's™ travel guides, and the Betty Crocker® and Weight Watchers® cookbooks. Through the 1990s, Hungry Minds had established itself as one of the world's major computer publishers, with the For Dummies series augmented by the higher-end Bible, Visual, and Secrets® lines for programmers. The acquisition increased Wiley's Professional/Trade revenue substantially and branded Wiley Web sites such as www.dummies.com, www.frommers.com, and www.cliffsnotes.com began to generate significant revenue from licensing, advertising, partnerships, and product sales.
Smaller, strategic acquisitions followed, including Sybex, Inc., a global publisher of books and software for the information technology professional, and InfoPOEMs, Inc. (now Essential Evidence Plus), a provider of evidence-based medicine content delivered via desktop computers and personal digital assistants, both in 2005; and, in 2006, Whatsonwhen Ltd. (renamed Frommer’s Unlimited), a B2B venture providing leading travel and lifestyle partners with destination content that adds value to their online offerings.
During the summer of 2002, Wiley relocated its global headquarters from New York City to a new building on the waterfront in Hoboken, New Jersey. Soon after the move, the company established a volunteer tutoring and mentoring program in Hoboken’s public schools, now replicated successfully at several Wiley locations. The program is now part of the broader Wiley Corporate Citizenship initiative, launched in 2008 to guide our social and environmental policies and practices. In addition to corporate philanthropy and volunteer activity within our communities, we provide those in need following natural disasters with online access to relevant scientific and medical content for free or at minimal cost. We also strive to reduce our carbon footprint, and we have instituted specific procedures to ensure that our supply chain conforms to the standards we set for ourselves.
In 2007 Wiley completed the acquisition of the outstanding shares of the U.K.-based Blackwell Publishing (Holdings) Ltd., one of the world's foremost academic and professional publishers, for $1.1 billion (£572 million), making it the largest acquisition in the company's history. Blackwell's publishing program has been merged with Wiley's global scientific, technical, and medical business to form what is now called Scientific, Technical, Medical, and Scholarly, also known as Wiley-Blackwell, the largest of Wiley's three core businesses and the world’s largest publisher for professional and scholarly societies.
In August 2010, Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), the next-generation online service, was launched, replacing Wiley InterScience. Wiley Online Library is one of the world's most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources covering life, health, social, and physical sciences and humanities. It delivers seamless, integrated access to over 4 million articles from more than 1,500 journals, 10,500 books, and hundreds of multi-volume reference works, laboratory protocols, and databases. Access to abstracts and searching is free, full content is accessible through licensing agreements, and large portions of the content are provided free or at nominal cost to nations in the developing world through partnerships with organizations such as HINARI, AGORA, and OARE, collectively known as Research4Life. Wiley Online Library also hosts the company’s entire historical journal holdings, an archive of content dating back to 1799 that is one of the largest such collections in the world.
By collaborating with respected companies and organizations, Wiley extends its expertise to global communities of interest. Wiley-Blackwell is the world’s leading publishing partner for professional and scholarly societies, with more than 750 such relationships in place. Wiley-Blackwell also partners with The Cochrane Collaboration to publish the Cochrane Library of evidence-based medicine databases. Other partners include Bloomberg L.P. (for the Bloomberg Press® imprint), Culinary Institute of America, General Mills, the Meredith Corporation (for Better Homes and Gardens Books), and the American Institute of Architects. Wiley is also Microsoft’s sole publishing partner worldwide for all Microsoft Official Academic Course (MOAC) materials, used in college courses that train and certify students in Microsoft technologies. Through our alliance with the National Geographic Society (NGS), we have created the Wiley Visualizing program, a series of higher education titles that integrates text and pedagogy, photographs, illustrations, maps, and media in a comprehensive presentation through print, student and instructor resources, and the WileyPLUS™ (www.wileyplus.com) online learning environment. Global Education also partners with Blackboard Inc. to make WileyPLUS content and tools available through Blackboard’s widely used learning management platform.
Wiley has played a leading role in important industry initiatives such as CrossRef, a collaborative venture providing key services such as online reference citation linkage in journals and other scholarly content. Wiley is also involved in the Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) initiative, a collaborative effort to provide a unique identifier for each contributor to the scholarly literature. The company has worked closely with key health organizations and other publishers to develop patientINFORM (www.patientinform.org,), a free online service disseminating original medical research directly to patients and their caregivers.
As a way of contributing to communities around the world, we partner with several organizations to make critical information readily available to those in greatest need. Wiley is a founding member of the U.N.-backed HINARI, AGORA, and OARE initiatives, collectively known as Research4Life, which make online scientific content available free or at nominal cost to researchers in developing countries. We are a founding partner in the Cochrane Collaboration's Evidence Aid project, providing evidence on interventions in the aftermath of natural disasters and large-scale health emergencies, and since 2010, our electronic content licenses have included a Natural Disaster Access Clause.
Wiley is committed to providing customers with the information they want, when and how they want it. With WileyPLUS, we are offering digital higher education texts that are integrated with resources for online study and administration of homework, tests, and other course elements, in a way proven to engage students while helping them master topics and achieve better grades. WileyPLUS and Wiley Online Library are both transforming Wiley's relationships with customers; they allow us to see how users interact with our content, providing valuable feedback that guides us in developing better products and solutions.
The company has begun to realize the vision known as "All Wiley, All the Time, Anywhere," in which customers will ultimately be able to choose any combination of items from Wiley's reservoir of content to create custom products delivered in their format of choice, print or electronic. At present, Global Education's Wiley Custom Select online service, launched in March 2009, allows instructors to browse and select from an extensive collection of Wiley content to create custom course materials that suit their specific pedagogical needs. Similarly, the online PfeifferCustom service allows professional leadership trainers to draw on Wiley's market-leading leadership, management, and team development content to build custom training workbooks, mixing in their own materials as desired.
Wiley has seen vigorous growth and dramatic change since the early 1990s. In financial terms, revenue increased from less than $300 million in FY1990 to $1.8 billion in FY2012. During the same period, the company's market capitalization increased from about $100 million to approximately $2.7 billion. Over the past decade, Wiley's revenue has increased by 9% per year (CAGR), and its earnings per share have risen by 12% per year (CAGR).
Over the past decade, Asia has emerged as both a dynamic market and a vital source of Wiley content. China is now the second-largest consumer of Wiley Online Library content and the second-largest source of Wiley-Blackwell journal articles. India, a well-established market for Wiley, is also developing into an important source of content. In the Middle East, we opened an office in Dubai in 2010 to help us capitalize on the rapid growth of higher education opportunities in the region, and in 2012 we established Wiley Brasil Editora LTDA in São Paulo, Brazil. As a globally organized company, Wiley is able to create consolidated centers of excellence at locations sited strategically around the globe, gaining cost savings and efficiencies that in turn help the company to make ongoing investments in the development of the business.
In February 2012, Wiley acquired Inscape Holdings Inc., which provides DiSC®-based assessments and training products for the development of interpersonal business skills, in print and digital formats. Inscape's assets dovetailed with the training and human resources solutions produced under Wiley's San Francisco-based Pfeiffer imprint (including the market-leading Leadership Challenge suite of products), and Inscape's international distributor network helped to extend the company's global reach. Wiley subsequently announced its intention to divest assets in the areas of travel (including the Frommer's brand), culinary, general interest, nautical, pets, and crafts, as well as the Webster's New World and CliffsNotes brands. The acquisition and planned divestiture were aligned with Wiley's increased strategic focus on content and services for research, learning, and professional practices, and on lifelong learning enabled by new technology. In September 2012, the Professional/Trade business changed its name to Professional Development to reflect this strategic focus.
The company has been honored frequently for its sustained financial success and exceptional culture, with appearances on Forbes magazine's list of the "400 Best Big Companies in America," Book Business magazine's citation of Wiley as "One of the 20 Best Book Publishing Companies to Work For," and Standard and Poor's 2006 addition of Wiley to its MidCap 400 Index. FORTUNE magazine has named Wiley one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For," Wiley Canada has been named to Canadian Business magazine's list of "Best Workplaces in Canada," and Wiley Australia has received the Australian government's "Employer of Choice for Women" citation every year since its inception in 2001. Wiley has also appeared on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "Best Workplaces for Commuters" list, and the company received the 2003 Enterprise Award from the New Jersey Business & Industry Association in recognition of its contribution to the state's economic growth.
The company's authors have been honored as well. Wiley and its acquired companies have published the works of more than 450 Nobel laureates in all categories: Literature, Economics, Physiology/Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, and Peace.
On May 1, 2011, Stephen M. Smith became Wiley's 11th President and CEO, following William J. Pesce's retirement. Steve joined Wiley in 1992 as head of the company's Asian business, subsequently taking on responsibility for Australian and European operations and becoming Chief Operating Officer in May 2009. The leadership transition resulted from a careful process of succession planning that also guided the development of a new generation of leaders phased in for the company’s three core businesses between November 2010 and May 2011.
For over 200 years, Wiley has grown and evolved, taking pride in its ability to meet the changing needs of its customers. The company's current migration to the digital world is the latest example of this kind of transformation. Given Wiley's solid financial position, experienced leadership team, talented workforce, and proven strategies for generating results, the years ahead promise to bring exciting opportunities for continued growth and prosperity. Wiley is a far cry from Charles Wiley's small printing shop, but the company's commitment to quality and to serving the needs of its customers has not changed since 1807.