He gained his earliest experience of business with Thurnam & Sons, booksellers, at Carlisle. Proceeding to London in 1833, he started in business for himself as a bookseller in 1836, and as a publisher in 1843, making his first serious success by reprinting the Biblical commentaries of an American writer, Albert Barnes.
His fame as a publisher, however, rests chiefly upon the enormous number of cheap books which he issued. A series of shilling volumes called the Railway Library was an immense success, including as it did Mrs Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, and he also published in popular form some of the writings of Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Bulwer-Lytton and Benjamin Disraeli. He also brought out a number of shilling books in Routledges Universal Library.
After being styled Routledge, Warne & Routledge, his firm changed its name to that of George Routledge & Sons in 1858. A branch of the business was established in New York in 1854. A beautifully illustrated children's book, titled Wide Awake Stories, was published by George Routledge & Sons, Limited.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press