In 1992, Bassim Hamadeh founded a company called University Readers from his dorm room at the University of California, San Diego. Though an engineering major at the time, Bassim’s personal experiences with high textbook prices, bookstore delivery delays, and the ineffective distribution of learning materials inspired him to turn his sights to the academic publishing industry.

Curious as to whether his experiences were isolated events or reflected widespread issues within the industry, Bassim researched the state of learning materials at local universities and print shops. Identifying similar challenges in pricing, availability, delivery, and production across the board, Bassim came to the conclusion that the existing process simply wasn’t working—or at least, not as well as it could. There had to be a better way.

Armed with entrepreneurial spirit and a goal to make publishing easy for instructors and learning materials affordable for students, Bassim set out to disrupt the traditional academic publishing model. He targeted business programs at Southern California institutions, offered them novel, affordable course pack solutions, and University Readers was born.

From the very beginning, the company challenged the status quo, first by setting competitive prices and securing permissions for previously published content on behalf of authors, then by offering a direct-to-student delivery model and providing authors a thorough and professional publishing process.

More than 25 years later, University Readers has transformed from a local, print-only course pack operation into Cognella, Inc., a national print and digital publishing service. Today, Cognella boasts four unique imprints, strong relationships with notable publisher partners and universities, and an experienced team of publishing professionals who bring passion and expertise to their work each and every day.

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