NBNi was founded in the UK in November 2003 when RLPG/NBN purchased the assets of Plymbridge Distributors. Since then there has been a major and ongoing investment in the warehouse systems and in rebuilding a thriving book distribution service.

The company was originally founded in 1976 as the distribution arm of the publisher Macdonald & Evans. Harper & Row acquired the business in 1985. In 1989, Mike Beevers, Ken Wasley, and Brian Eagle purchased the company in a management buyout. Under their capable management, Plymbridge as it was known then, grew to become one of the largest independent book distributors in the UK.

The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group is one of the largest independent publishers in North America. Located in a suburb of Washington DC, the company publishes approximately 1,200 new books annually for the academic, professional and trade markets under such imprints as Scarecrow Press, AltaMira Press, Lexington Books, Ivan R Dee, Sheed & Ward, University Press of America and Rowman & Littlefield.

RLPG is owned and managed by the same individuals who founded it in 1975. In addition to its book publishing business, the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group owns the second largest book distributor in North America, National Book Network (NBN), which was launched in 1986. In a recent survey of book distributors in North America, the Publishers Marketing Association ranked NBN first.