Harcourt Trade Publishers

Harcourt Trade Publishers

Infobox Company
company_name = Harcourt Trade Publishers
company_type = Subsidiary of Houghton Mifflin
genre = Books
foundation = 1921
founder = Alfred Harcourt
location_city = San Diego, California
location_country = USA
location =
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industry =
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parent = Houghton Mifflin
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homepage = [http://www.harcourtbooks.com www.harcourtbooks.com]
dissolved =
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Harcourt Trade Publishers is a U.S. publishing firm with a long history of publishing fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. In 2007, the company was sold by Reed Elsevier to Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep Group. [cite web | url=http://www.reedelsevier.com/index.cfm?articleid=2110 | title=Reed Elsevier announces sale of Harcourt US Schools Education Business to Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep Group for $4.0 billion | accessdate=2007-07-18 | format= | work= ] The merged company is now named Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The company is based in San Diego, California, with an Editorial / Sales / Marketing / Rights office in New York City.


Harcourt, Brace & Howe (1919)

Alfred Harcourt and Donald Brace were friends at Columbia College of Columbia University in New York, from which the both graduated in 1904. The two worked for Henry Holt & Company before founding their own publishing (Harcourt, Brace & Howe) company in 1919. They published the works of a number of world renowned writers, including Sinclair Lewis, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, James Thurber, George Orwell and Robert Penn Warren. In 1921, they became Harcourt, Brace & Company.

By 1960, Harcourt Brace led the market in high school textbook publishing, but had little presence in the elementary school market. That year, William Jovanovich, who had become president of the company in 1954, took the company public and merged Harcourt Brace & Company with World Book Company to create Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.

This was a strategic move that had a long-term impact on the company because World Book was an established elementary textbook publisher and a test publisher.

In 1970, the company became known as Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (HBJ), with William Jovanovich as chairman. That same year, the company acquired The Psychological Corporation. Under Jovanovich’s leadership, the company diversified into non-publishing businesses such as insurance and business consulting. It also bought several theme parks -- including SeaWorld, which it acquired in 1976 for $46 million. The company divested its theme park division in 1989 for $1.1 billion.

Harcourt also published mass-market paperback books with Pyramid Books, which it bought out in 1974 and renamed Jove Books, then later selling it to the Putnam Berkley Group in 1979.

World Book Company (1905)

World Book Company opened its first office in Manila in 1905 and published English-language educational materials for schools in the Philippines. The company later moved to New York, where it became a test publisher. Much of the company’s success was based on the work of Arthur S. Otis, who was best known for the intelligence tests he developed for the U.S. Army. Millions of World War I draftees took Otis’ tests.

World Book Company became the first publisher of group-administered tests measuring mental ability when it published Otis’ Group Intelligence Scale in 1918. Otis joined World Book in 1921. By the time World Book merged with Harcourt Brace in 1960, it had a portfolio of educational tests, including the Stanford Achievement Test (1923), the Metropolitan Achievement Test (1932) and the Otis Mental Ability Test (1936).

World Book Company was not related to World Book, Inc., the Chicago-based publisher of encyclopedias and other reference books.

Harcourt General and Harcourt, Inc.

In 1991, General Cinema Corporation, a diversified company that operated retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, as well as a national chain of movie theaters, acquired Harcourt Brace Jovanovich for more than $1.5 billion. In 1993, General Cinema Corporation renamed itself Harcourt General and restored the publishing division’s name to the historic Harcourt Brace & Company. At the end of the year, Harcourt General divested its cinema division.

In 1999, Harcourt General divested its retail division and shortened the publishing division’s name to Harcourt, Inc.

Reed Elsevier Group plc

In 2001, the Anglo-Dutch publishing company Reed Elsevier acquired Harcourt General and Harcourt, Inc. Harcourt Trade Publishers is a member of the Reed Elsevier Group plc (NYSE: RUK and ENL), which is a publisher and information provider operating in four global industry sectors -- science and medical, legal, education, and business.

Reed Elsevier comprises the following divisions: Elsevier (science and medical), LexisNexis (legal), Harcourt Education (education), and Reed Business (business).

On 15th February 2007, Reed Elsevier announced its intention to sell its education arm, Harcourt Education, of which Harcourt Trade Publishers is a part. According to Reed Chief Executive Crispin Davis, "This is essentially a strategic decision that we want to focus more sharply on our three existing businesses ... with better growth rates." [cite web |url=http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlebusiness.aspx?type=businessNews&storyID=2007-02-15T085202Z_01_WLB5021_RTRUKOC_0_UK-REED-RESULTS.xml |title= Reed Elsevier to sell education arm |accessdate=2007-02-21 |format= |work= ] On 17th July 2007 Reed Elsevier announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Harcourt US Schools Education business, including Harcourt Trade Publishers, to Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep Group. [cite web |url=http://www.reedelsevier.com/index.cfm?articleid=2110 |title= Reed Elsevier announces sale of Harcourt US Schools Education Business to Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep Group for $4.0 billion |accessdate=2007-07-18 |format= |work= ]


Today Harcourt Trade Publishers publish a wide range of books under a variety of imprints, including Harvest Books, Gulliver Books, Silver Whistle, Red Wagon Books, Harcourt Young Classics, Green Light Readers, Voyager Books/Libros Viajeros, Harcourt Paperbacks, Odyssey Classics, and Magic Carpet Books.

Harcourt's adult books division is one of the most historic of the American literary publishers. Its widely decorated backlist includes Sinclair Lewis, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, Robert Penn Warren's "All the King's Men", andAlice Walker's "The Color Purple". Harcourt has also made a name for itself as one of the premier American publishers of literature in translation by acquiring writers such as Gunter Grass, Umberto Eco, and José Saramago.

Harcourt Children's Books publishes books for children of all ages, including interactive books for toddlers, picture books for young children, science fiction and fantasy novels for preteen and teens, as well as historical fiction. The house is the original publisher of such classics as "The Little Prince", "Mary Poppins", "The Borrowers", "Half Magic", "Ginger Pye", and "The Moffats". Harcourt Children's Books publishes many, diverse talents, including Jannell Cannon, Diane Duane, Mem Fox, Janet Stevens, Jane Yolen, and Bruce Hale.



Company History. Harcourt Assessment Web site. 2006. Available at:http://harcourtassessment.com/haiweb/Cultures/en-US/Harcourt/AboutUs/History.htm Accessed 21st February, 2007.

History of Harcourt Trade Publishers. Harcourt Trade Publishers Web site. 2004. Available at: http://www.harcourtbooks.com/AboutPublisher/history.asp Accessed 4th December, 2006

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