From printer to publisher

Share this on social media:

Topic tags: 

John Murphy gets to know Maney Publishing

Ten years ago the imprint of Maney did not exist. The company did but its publishing activities were hidden behind the imprints of the learned societies it had printing and publishing contracts with.

All that changed when new owners of the company decided to create their own imprint and raise the profile of the company. Now Maney publishes over 70 academic titles under its own name.

The Leeds, UK-based company was founded by Walter Stanley Maney in 1900. It was initially a family-run printer but moved more into publishing in the 1950s and 1960s as more academic societies were being formed and starting to launch journals. By the mid 1990s it had a substantial list of publications produced on behalf of academic societies, mainly in the humanities.

The change in philosophy from the contract printer and publisher model came about when the Maney family sold the business to a private investor. Michael Gallico, a senior executive from Carfax Publishing, was brought in as managing director to develop the company as more of a journal publisher rather than a printer.

Gallico saw the strengths of the company as its relationships with the major societies and its reputation for publishing services. He created the Maney imprint and through a campaign of launches and acquisitions has built it up to a list of over 70 academic titles, in addition to the work done for the learned societies. The company has also developed an online publishing presence even though in the early days this was not seen as a priority in humanities publishing.

Moving into STM publishing

This area of humanities has traditionally been a core strength of Maney, with many of its key publishing contracts being in this area. However, Gallico’s background was in medical publishing and he had a vision to expand the subject focus of the company. ‘I needed to demonstrate that Maney could do work in other areas besides modern languages and archaeology,’ he explained. ‘I bought a small group of medical titles that were almost cast offs from other publishers and put those journals online.’

The latest new area for Maney to move into is engineering and materials science, as Gallico explained. ‘In 2001 the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining wanted to outsource its publishing operations and we tendered in competition with some major publishers.’ Maney won the contract under an arrangement that the company took over the staff involved and took space in the institute’s building in Carlton House Terrace, London. This was to enable the publisher to work closely with the members and officers of the institute. ‘That doubled the size of our company in almost every respect. We acquired 13 journals and a significant list of books,’ said Gallico.

Materials science has become an important focus for Maney. Recently the company acquired Matrice to help grow its material science list. Other parts of the company have also grown by being invited to tender by societies and buying journals that compliment the list. ‘We have bought journals that are a strategy fit to our subject strengths and we are in negotiations for others,’ said Gallico.

With its new subject areas and growing portfolio of journal titles the company saw an opportunity to move into new ways of providing electronic journal access for library consortia. The MORE Library access system was launched in early 2005 and offers ‘all you can eat’ deals to libraries in the three subject areas of medical, material science and humanities.

Gallico explained: ‘Libraries are able to subscribe to 70 titles for just a slight increase on what they are already paying. The additional content may not be justifiable at full price but under these deals it is very substantially discounted. Usage studies have found that when libraries buy into these deals the material they did not think they would need gets quite a lot of use. The main purpose of publishing is to disseminate information and our philosophy is to have our content as widely available as possible. This feeds back into citation, impact factor and profile.’

Gallico wants to continue to build the profile of Maney, particularly in North America where the model of outsourcing the production of journals for learned societies is gaining acceptance. Although Maney does not have the historical profile of other publishers it prides itself on never having lost a publishing contract with a learned society. Gallico believes that this is down to a philosophy of customer service.

He is determined to grow the company to the size that has become unfashionable amongst publishing companies. He wants Maney to be big in its selected market segments but small compared to the likes of Elsevier. He says we can expect a steady flow of new launches and acquisitions as well as fierce competition for society publishing contracts.