The year was 1534 and a new printing & publishing house by the name of Cambridge University Press was founded. The first of its kind, it was granted letters patent by the infamous King Henry VIII. Perhaps even more astonishingly, it’s still running after 482 years.
You may be wondering how an organization survives five centuries and still stays in business. Well for starters Cambridge University Press (aka CUP for short) is tied to one of the most prestigious universities in Europe (and the world for that matter), the University of Cambridge. It has also been the official printer for many monarch’s over the centuries, including currently holding letters patent as the official Queen’s Printer.
Despite the fact that CUP is set up as a charitable enterprise that gives its surplus earnings back to the University, the lack of a for-profit business model hasn’t slowed them down. Cambridge University Press currently publishes over 50,000 titles by authors from over 100 countries, including academic journals, monographs, reference works, textbooks, and English-language teaching and learning publications.
And for those of you who may be thinking the printing and publishing industry is being phased out by newer digital platforms, just keep in mind that as of the fiscal year ending in April 2016, CUP’s revenue was a robust £269.1 million pounds (approximately $330.6 million U.S. Dollars). So it looks like it’ll be 483 years and counting for the oldest, continuously run publisher in the world.