The Big Five Publishers Statistics

The Big Five Publishers Statistics

The Big Five publishing houses are:

In 2021, Penguin Random House started the purchase of Simon & Schuster for over $2 billion, which would change the landscape of publishing to the Big Four. However, the government stopped the deal, which still hasn’t gone through.

The Big Five publishers don’t dominate the market in terms of the number of titles released each year but are disproportionately dominant in terms of revenue from book sales:

  • Depending on the number of new books published each year, the Big Five publishers are responsible for publishing between 10% and 20% of all new titles in a year published through conventional publishers.
  • When we include self-published books, the share of Big Five in global publishing becomes much smaller but still equates to around 2.5%.
  • These estimates are based on the publishing figures across both print and digital platforms.
  • The Big Five publishing houses control over 80% of the trade book market in the United States as of 2022.
  • When it comes to revenue from book sales, the Big Five publishers generate over $12 billion per year as of 2021.
  • This means that the Big Five publishers generate 64% of the US publishing industry’s revenue, not counting educational books.
  • Even when we look at the publishing industry as a whole, including educational books, the Big Five publishers still hold over 40% of the US publishing market.

The Big Five publishers revenue statistics

  • As of 2021, the Big Five publishing companies generate over $12 billion in book sales revenue.
  • The biggest publisher, Penguin Random House, controls over 39% of the group’s revenue, followed by Hachette, which controls over 25.4% of the Big Five’s revenue.
  • Since 2016, these 5 companies have generated over $62.9 billion in revenue.
  • The Big Five’s annual revenue has been growing at an average pace of 4.8% per year since 2016, peaking at 9.92% in 2021.

An overview of book sales revenue for the Big Five publishing houses is presented in the table below (revenue figures are expressed in $ million):

YearHarperCollinsSimon & SchusterMacmillanHachettePenguinBig Five total revenueChange

Graphical representation of the Big Five publishers’ annual revenue is presented on the chart below:

  • Without Macmillan, whose income figures are not publicly available, the other four publishers from the Big Five group generate over $1.8 billion in annual income as of 2021.
  • From this group, Penguin Random House generates over 48.8% of the income, followed by Hachette with 22.7%.
  • In 5 out of the last 7 years, Penguin generated more income than other members of the Big Five combined.
  • Since 2015, they have generated over $9.2 billion in income, with an average annual growth of 8.7%.
  • The biggest income growth for the Big Five publishers came in the pandemic and post-pandemic years, as incomes rose 22.7% in 2020 and 20.7% in 2021.

The annual income of the Big Five publishers (excluding Macmillan) since 2015 is presented in the table below (figures are in $ million):

YearHarperCollinsSimon & SchusterHachettePenguin

Income figures are graphically presented on the chart provided below: