Book Publishing Companies Statistics

The global book publishing market was worth $91.39 billion as of 2023. By 2027, it is expected to grow by 7.06% to reach $97.84 billion. With the development of growing markets and a push to increase literacy worldwide, book publishers will be looking to capitalize on its growth, especially through the use of digital offerings such as ebooks and audiobooks.

The Big Five publishers

Within the publishing industry, Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster are known as the Big Five. The revenue generated by each company separates them from other publishers, allowing them to preside over the market as a whole.

  • Over 80% of the US trade book market is controlled by the Big Five as of 2022.
  • As of 2021, the Big Five generated over $12 billion in book sales revenue.
  • Without counting educational books, the Big Five generate 64% of the US publishing industry’s revenue.
  • When including educational books, the Big Five generate more than 40% of the US publishing market.

A table is given below to show the annual revenue ($ million) of the Big Five publishers each year:

YearHarperCollinsSimon & SchusterMacmillanHachettePenguinBig Five total revenueChange

Education book publishing companies

Within book publishing, education is one of the most important market sectors. By delivering resources across a variety of formats, educational book publishers make up some of the biggest global publishers.

US educational publishers

  • Wiley’s annual revenue as of 2022 was $2.08 billion.
  • Scholastic’s revenue from its education solution segment was $393.6 million as of 2022.
  • In the higher education market, McGraw Hill is a US top-three provider with a share of 25% as of 2021.
  • In the K-12 market it is also a US top-three provider with a share of 22%.
  • Within the US, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt programs are used by 90% of K-12 schools.

A graph is given below to show 2021 revenues for US educational book publishers:

UK educational publishers

  • As of 2021, Pearson Education’s annual revenue was $4.71 billion.
  • This was an increase of 8.06% over the previous year.
  • $1.66 billion of this figure was generated from the assessment and qualifications segment.
  • $1.17 billion of this figure was generated from the higher education segment.

A graph is given below to show 2021 revenues for UK educational book publishers:

Independent book publishers

For book authors, independent book publishers can provide a different option for the publication of their titles. If an author is unable to create a publishing agreement with the biggest publishing houses, Indie publishers are often able to provide an alternative.

  • In the worldwide book industry, there were approximately 69,709 independent publishers as of 2020.
  • The region of North American has a 35% market share in book publishing, greatly contributed to by indie publishers.
  • Out of the commercially available books, independent books make up around 40%.
  • For independent publishers, securing distribution (39%), returns (35%) and understanding distribution fees (27%) made up their biggest concerns as of 2022.
  • As of 2021, the US indie book publishers with the fastest growth were Microcosm Publishing (1st), Blue Star Press (2nd) and Media Lab Books (3rd).

A graph is given below to show the number of new titles by the fastest growing US indie book publishers:

Black-owned publishing companies

Between 1960 and 1970 there was a huge boost in African-American publishing activities. Alongside a major increase in the number of African-American bookstores and titles, many new publishing houses were established.

  • Out of the analyzed black-owned publishers, Africa World Press & The Red Sea Press have released the largest number of titles (1,815), as of 2023.
  • The second-largest number of titles (278) were released by Third World Press.
  • Black Classic Press released the third-largest number of titles (161).
  • A merger in 2015 between Broadside Press (formed 1965) and Lotus Press (formed 1972) gives Broadside Lotus Press the largest history out of the analyzed publishers.

A graph is given below to show the total books published by black-owned US publishing companies:

Book publishing employees

To counter a lack of diversity at all levels within the book publishing industry, data can play a prominent role in HR decision making. Although efforts have been made to reduce employee disparities between gender, ethnicity, orientation and disability, differences are still present today.

  • The US book publishing industry employs 72,008 people as of 2022.
  • The number of US book publishing employees grows by 513.44 on average annually.
  • For men in the industry, the average salary was $80,000 as of 2021.
  • For women in the industry, the average salary was $62,750.
  • Of the big 5, HarperCollins hired the lowest percentage of white employees (62%), based on available data.

A graph is given below to show the number of US book publishing employees per year:

Employee diversity

In combination with tracking employee information data, there has also been a greater effort to hire diversity, equity & inclusion officers to oversee HR decision making.

  • Within the publishing industry, 75% of respondents claimed their employer had made efforts over the previous year to increase diversity and equity, as of 2020.
  • In companies that introduced DEI initiatives, 50% of employees believed it would result in actual change.
  • White authors wrote 95% of American fiction books published from 1950 to 2018.

A graph is given below to show US book publishing’s racial diversity:

(find out more about employee diversity and categorizations here)

Book publishing companies FAQ

What are the main responsibilities of publishing companies?

  • Book publishers create and distribute copies of written works. 
  • Principally, publishing companies receive and review manuscripts from authors, before editing and producing them into books.
  • Book publishing companies are also responsible for assisting, managing and promoting their authors alongside their written works.

What types of publishing companies are there?

  • In addition to the big 5 publishing houses, there is also a multitude of small, mid and large-sized independent publishers and imprints that exist around the world.

How do book publishers make money?

  • Book publishers primarily make money when readers purchase the books that they publish.
  • Publishers often pay royalties back to authors based on the book’s retail listed price.

When did book print publishing begin?

  • The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed in Europe. 
  • It was printed in 1455 using the movable type method.

Where are most US book publishers located?

  • As of 2022, New York has the largest number of registered book publishing companies in the US.
  • This is followed by California (2nd) and Texas (3rd).