R.R. Bowker

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R.R. Bowker
Parent company Cambridge Information Group
Founded 1868 (1868)
Founder Frederick Leypoldt
Headquarters location New York City
Publication types Books
Official website www.bowker.com

R.R. Bowker LLC is an American limited liability company that, among other things, provides bibliographic information of published works to the industry, which includes publishers, booksellers, libraries, and individuals.

Bowker is the exclusive U.S. agent for issuing International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), a universal method of identifying books in print. Bowker is also the publisher of Books in Print and other compilations of information about books and periodical titles.

And, Bowker provides supply chain services and analytical tools to the book publishing industry.[1] Bowker is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey, with additional operational offices in England and Australia. Bowker is owned by Cambridge Information Group.


The company was founded by Frederick Leypoldt, a German immigrant who worked as a bookseller and recognized the need for good bibliographic information to make the book business more efficient. The monthly Literary Bulletin, his first periodical, was established by him in 1868. In 1870 Leypoldt issued the first edition of his Annual American Catalogue, the forerunner for Books In Print. In 1872 he published the first issue of Publishers Weekly, in 1873 the first Publishers' Uniform Trade-List Annual (later the Publishers Trade List Annual), and in 1876 the first issue of Library Journal. In 1878 Leypoldt's company was acquired by Richard Rogers Bowker. Leypoldt and Bowker also founded two influential standard book-industry references: Literary Marketplace and Ulrich's Periodicals Directory. [2] In 1967, the Xerox Corporation acquired the R. R. Bowker company, and then sold it to Reed International (now Reed Elsevier) in 1985. In 1985 Publishers Weekly, after 113 years as a part of R.R. Bowker, was transferred to the Cahners Publishing Company.

Bowker was acquired by its present parent company, Cambridge Information Group, in 2001.[3]


Books In Print[edit]

Books In Print lists nearly all books that are currently available in English and in the United States from major publishers. A resource for bookstores, libraries, and publishers, it is available in a print version, but is most often accessed electronically. Books in Print listings are several million, a number that is only exceeded by Amazon.

The Library and Book Trade Almanac[edit]

The Library and Book Trade Almanac (formerly The Bowker Annual) is a resource for librarians, publishers, and booksellers which provides reviews of "key trends, events, and developments" in the industry; statistics on book prices, numbers of books published, library expenditures, and average salaries; explanations of new legislation and changes in funding programs; and other information.[4]


Bowker is the United States provider of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), a code for identifying commercial books devised by Gordon Foster in 1967. An ISBN is currently placed on a book to uniquely identify it. ISBNs are available one at a time and in blocks up to 1000 for a set fee.[5] ISBNs may be purchased and maintained at Bowker's Identifiers website, My Identifiers

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Milliot, Jim, "Bowker Moves Forward Under New Ownership", Publishers Weekly: 11 
  2. ^ Kent, Allen; Harold Lancour (1970). Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science / Bowker, R.R., Company. New York: Marcel Dekker. pp. 133–48. 
  3. ^ Company history, R.R. Bowker.
  4. ^ "The Library and Book Trade Almanac 2009 - 54th Edition". Infotoday.stores.yahoo.net. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  5. ^ Friedlander, Joel (May 19, 2010). "Bowker’s Andy Weissberg on ISBNs and the Future". The Book Designer. Retrieved February 12, 2011. 

External links[edit]