|Parent company||Bloomsbury Publishing|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Nonfiction topics||military history|
|Imprints||Shire, Old House|
Osprey Publishing is a British, Oxford-based, publishing company specializing in military history. Predominantly an illustrated publisher, many of their books contain full-colour artwork plates, maps and photographs, and the company produces over a dozen ongoing series, each focusing on a specific aspect of the history of warfare. Osprey has published over 2,300 books.[as of?] They are best known[according to whom?] for their Men-at-Arms series, running to over 500 titles, with each book dedicated to a specific historical army or military unit. Osprey is an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing.
In the 1960s, the Brooke Bond Tea Company began including a series of military aircraft cards with packages of their tea. The cards proved popular, and the artist Dick Ward proposed the idea of publishing illustrated books about military aircraft. The idea was approved and a small subsidiary company called Osprey was formed in 1968. The company's first book, North American P-51D Mustang in USAAF-USAF Service, was published in 1969. Soon after, Ward proposed trying the same idea with famous military units, and in 1971 the first Men-at-Arms title appeared. In the late 70s, the firm was acquired by George Philip Ltd. In 1988, Philip was acquired by Reed International; it was sold to the private equity firm Botts & Company.
During these years, the firm grew steadily, adding new titles and new series to their catalogue. Although they have produced books of all types, the main focus remains on military history, particularly the military history of Britain. Osprey Publishing now publishes an average of 10-12 books a month.
Shire Books was acquired in 2007, and the science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint Angry Robot was purchased from HarperCollins in 2010. The reprint house Old House was acquired in 2011. To continue expansion, a majority stake in Osprey was sold by Botts to Alcuin Capital Partners in 2011. In 2012, Osprey acquired Duncan Baird (later renamed Nourish) and its Watkins imprint. In 2013, Osprey acquired British Wildlife Publishing.
Martijn Lak noted that "Osprey Publishing are to be applauded for paying attention" and publishing works about events that are "largely unknown to the Anglo-American audience". Lak also noted that many Osprey books, for example from its Raid series, are "superbly illustrated with pictures, maps, and photos."