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Cambridge University Press - Modernizing

World’s Oldest Publishing House Welcomes 21st-Century Technologies

Digital Content Development


Cambridge University Press, the oldest printing and publishing house in the world, produces nearly 2,500 academic and educational titles and more than 150 journals each year, with distribution in nearly 200 countries. 


In 1994, at the beginning of the digital revolution in publishing, Cambridge set out to update its production processes, improve turnaround times, and boost efficiency in order to remain an industry leader.

Cambridge U.S. sought a forward-thinking and technologically savvy vendor to leverage emerging advances in parallel publishing and XML. It approached Aptara, which has unrivaled experience in electronic publishing innovation and a proven ability to optimize production workflows. 


Aptara reengineered Cambridge’s production and operational processes through its pioneering XML-first workflows and devised an XML DTD for the publisher’s books and journals. The new workflow renders the original source files as XML typescript for copyediting and indexing and then delivers full-text XML and ONIX files at first pages. The XML output enables simultaneous multi-channel publishing for print, online, and mobile devices.


Fueled by the quality, value, and scalability of Aptara’s deliverables, the relationship with Aptara expanded to include outsourcing Cambridge’s publishing operations around the globe. It also encompassed editorial responsibility for a significant subset of Cambridge’s publications—from raw manuscript through to delivery to the printer, including author management, copyediting, QA, composition, and workflow optimization.

Built and launched by Aptara to meet Cambridge’s aggressive timelines, the streamlined, end-to-end production system has yielded significant economies of scale. It employs a hybrid outsourcing model that combines onshore and offshore models with more than 20 project managers in the United States dedicated to the Cambridge account.

More than 15 years later, Aptara produces approximately 480 books and journals for Cambridge each year—more than 200,000 pages annually. The partnership resulted in an initial 20% reduction in production turnaround times, an additional 20% reduction in production schedules, and the adoption of Aptara’s custom production workflow across all of Cambridge’s onshore operations.