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MANZ History

In 1849, one year after the revolution of 1848, Friedrich Manz established the „Manz’sche k.k. Hof-Verlags- und Universitätsbuchhandlung“ in Vienna. After his death in 1866 his brother Hermann Manz continued to run the bookstore until, in 1883, he sold it to the Leipzig publisher Julius Klinkhardt. The new owners were Julius Klinkhardt and his authorized proxy Markus Stein (born in 1845).

With the latter, the history of MANZ as a publisher was to commence in earnest. Stein published language teaching books and legal codes. 1882 had already witnessed the publication of a 20-volume pocket edition of Austrian Laws. In 1903/1904 a printing house was added. From 1910 on, Markus Stein and his son Richard (1871-1932) were the sole owners. Carl Junker, who chronicled Austrian book selling, wrote in1900: “The Manz collection of Austrian law books is perhaps the only one of its kind in the world. These handy black volumes serve as the constant companion of all lawyers and administrative civil servants; they have virtually supplanted official editions of the laws.“

In 1912 the famous architect and critic of architecture Adolf Loos designed the main entrance to the bookstore, situated at Kohlmarkt 16 in Vienna’s First District. This entry has been preserved in its original state to the present day. Following Sigmund Freud’s principles of psychoanalysis, its most significant feature, a recessed entryway combined with indirect lighting, was to exercise a subconscious attraction on passersby, pulling them magically inside to browse. The impressive building at Kohlmarkt 20 (today no. 16) had been built at the behest of Markus Stein in 1892/93.

In addition to contracting Loos, the Stein family as patrons of the arts commissioned Oskar Kokoschka to paint the portrait „Zwei Spielende Kinder“ (1909) – it shows Richard Stein’s children Lotte and Walter at play – and supported the composer Arnold Schönberg, one of whose students was Richard’s brother Erwin Stein.

Richard Stein,
Markus’s son, succeeded in successfully guiding the company through the shoals of the inflationary period during the 1920’s (e.g. in establishing the “Collection Manz“ and the “Editions Larousse“).

Subsequent to Austria’s annexation by the Nazis in 1938, the MANZ partners and siblings Robert Stein (1899-1970), Walter Stein (1901-1979), Maria Charlotte Sweceny (1904-1956) and Edith Hilscher (1910-1985) were considered Jewish “half-breeds“ and thus were no longer permitted to run a company. The “Aryans“ Ernst Gießauf, head of the MANZ printing house, Berta Pohl, official proxy, and Anton Bernhard, booktrader, headed the company under Hitler’s Regime during World War II.

Robert Stein, Richard’s son, who had taken over the helm in 1935, represented the third generation of the Stein family at MANZ. The two brothers, Robert and Walter Stein (Walter was chiefly responsible for the printing house) undertook the reconstruction of the company in 1946. That same year, the first issue of the „Österreichische Juristen-Zeitung“ (ÖJZ) came out, a publication for the Austrian legal community, which still appears regularly over half a century later.

After Robert Stein’s death in 1970, his son Franz Stein (1944-2005) succeeded him as managing director. Anton C. Hilscher, a cousin, joined the company management in 1973.
In 1982 the MANZ printing house phased out hot type, changing over to computer composition, and the "RDB Rechtsdatenbank", an online legal database, was founded.

In 1994, the school book business was outsourced and in 1996 MANZ GmbH was established as a holding company. Today it maintains a 60% share of the Manz’sche Verlags- und Universitätsbuchhandlung GmbH, the other 40 % being held in the form of a strategic partnership by the Dutch Wolters Kluwer Group.

As of 2001, new executives were chosen to head the company; Kristin Hanusch-Linser became chairwoman and Lucas Schneider-Manns-Au took over marketing and distribution. All companies within the MANZ Group–MANZ’sche Verlags- und Universitätsbuchhandlung, RDB Rechtsdatenbank GmbH, Österreichische –Verlagsgesellschaft C. & E. Dworak GmbH and Onlaw Internet Technologie GmbH–moved into one single building at Johannesgasse 23 in Vienna.

Schneider-Manns-Au left in 2004 to become executive director of MANZ Schulbuch Verlag GmbH (part of Manz GmbH). The same year, Franz Stein acquired the majority of shares in Manz Holding.

On Nov. 7, 2005, Franz Stein unexpectedly passed away. His daughter Susanne Stein took over his responsibilities, quickly thereafter assuming the duties of Hanusch-Linser as well, who left the company in Dec. 2005. In 2008, Franz Stein’s son Andreas Stein became executive director of MANZ Schulbuchverlag GmbH.

In January 2010, MANZ’sche Verlags- und Universitätsbuchhandlung GmbH absorbed RDB Rechtsdatenbank, formerly  its subsidiary. The RDB brand remains in use online as a sales platform within the MANZ sales and services portfolio. Onlaw Internet Technologies GmbH, the group’s technology provider, is now in business under „MANZ Solutions GmbH“, signalling the birth of the MANZ brand as a unified corporate image.