Know Who to Reach Out To!
The publishing industry has always been a tricky business, with an influential and massive global consumer market. Most of the major publishers are part of a bigger media enterprise, except for some prominent indie presses.
America is one of the leaders in terms of book publishing, accounting for 29% of global book sales by revenue in the world. The U.S also hosts what are popularly known as ‘The Big-5”; the big names in the publishing industry. Novels published by them are hosted by most bookstores around the world, ensuring an incredible audience for your story. There are also other publishers outside.
Some of the most prominent names in American publishing today are:
Penguin Random House
Considered to be one of the biggest publishing houses in the industry, Penguin Random House (PRH) was formed from a merger between Penguin Books and Random House in 2013. It is owned by multinational companies Pearson PLC and Bertelsmann. It boasts of almost 300 “editorially and creatively” independent imprints that work under the banner.
PRH publishes over 15,000 print books a year and sells over 70,000 digital books every year. Multiple editions of books are printed, increasing the number even further. It boasts of a fan-base that has been accumulated through various author events, workshops, book tours, etc. It also allows for readers to get access to in-depth interviews with writers and essays by them over on their website. For amateur as well as established authors alike, PRH serves as an incredible place.
HarperCollins is a subsidiary of News Corp and was founded in 1989 in the form of a multi-million company merger between former publishing giants Harper & Row and William Collins. It has over 120 individual imprints, including Amistad, Anthony Bourdain Books, Custom Books, HarperAudio, William Morrow, etc.
Every genre from romance to business have been extensively produced by the house and its imprints for decades. It has, at present, around 19 divisions in 17 countries including Germany, Finland, India, Japan, Czech Republic, Brazil. According to the website itself, “HarperCollins uses its reach into 15 translation markets to provide authors with a superior publishing experience. Through its Global Publishing Program, authors can benefit from a unique approach of having multiple international publishing teams collaborating on key strategies.”
It is an excellent vessel to centre your story in and put it out into the world.
3. Simon & Schuster
Another giant of the publishing industry, Simon & Schuster was the original publisher of the “Lost Generation” authors like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Eliot and others. Owned by CBS Corporation as a subsidiary and founded in 1924, this publishing house has a number of publishing units that offer books in different formats. All these imprints work independently in terms of production, marketing, etc.
It is one of the world’s leading publishers of children’s novels, published under various imprints like Aladdin Paperbacks, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Salaam Reads, etc. It also publishes a plethora of audiobooks, including original audiobook productions. It currently has divisions in Australia, UK, India as well as Canada.
Hits like The Institute by Stephen King and Howard Stern Comes Again by Howard Stern were some of their best published works of 2019.
4. The Hachette Book Group
Hachette Book Group is owned by Hachette Livre, the largest publishing company in France, and one of the most reputed globally. Hachette Livre is a subsidiary of Lagardère Group and has over 150 imprints to their name. Some of it’s most prolific ones include Grand Central Publishing as well as Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Audio, etc.
According to their website, in one year, HBG publishes approximately 1,600+ adult books (including 50-100 digital-only titles), 350 books for young readers and 700 audiobook titles (including print and download-only titles). In 2020, the company had 196 books on the New York Times bestseller list, 26 of which reached #1. Its readership continues to grow with its publications of a diverse list of authors.
5. Macmillan Publishers
One of the subsidiaries of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, Macmillan Publishers was formed in 2015 through a merger. It is one of the big five publisher with a renowned history which dates back to 1843, publishing the works of eminent authors like Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, and W. B. Yeats. It is home for a range of imprints that work in both adult as well as children’s literature extensively.
It is operating in 70 countries and has imprints in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and India. Macmillan operates eight divisions in the US: Celadon Books; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Flatiron Books; Henry Holt and Company; Macmillan Audio; Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group; St. Martin’s Press and Tor/Forge.
In the UK, Australia, India, and South Africa, Macmillan publishes under the Pan Macmillan name and is a well-known name in publishing.
Scholastic is considered more of a publisher of educational books than traditional story books. It was founded in 1920 and has been an independent publisher ever since.
It is the largest publisher and distributor of children’s books in the world, owning the rights to some of the most well-known series of all time, such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. It is consistent in publishing some of the most popular titles for children. Their website proudly confesses, “Scholastic is currently in 115,000 schools, reaching 3.8 million educators, 54 million students, and 78 million parents/caregivers domestically.”
It is an absolutely powerhouse of children’s works and a staple in every household that wishes to encourage a love for literature in their child.
7. Disney Publishing Worldwide
Formerly known as The Disney Publishing Group and Buena Vista Publishing Group, Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) is another children’s publisher that has been having a good run, particularly in the fiction category with titles like Star Wars and other Disney-owned properties.
Recently, DPW increased its presence in the publishing industry when Hachette Book Group purchased more than 1,000 titles published by Disney, marking a partnership that is not only limited to traditional publishing but goes “beyond books across multiple platforms and media”. It is Hachette that is responsible for distribution of works by the DPW.
Wiley is also an established name in the publishing industry, with work spanning well over 200 years. It was found by Richard Wiley in the year 1807 in New York. Along with academic books, Wiley is known for it’s publishing of academic writings; journals, essays, etc.
By partnering with learned societies, they support researchers to communicate “discoveries that make a difference”. They have an extensive collection of online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, books, and other digital content.
9. Workman Publishing Company
Workman Publishing Company was founded in 1968 by Peter Workman and was led by his wife Carolan after his demise in 2013. It is known mainly for publishing non-fiction books along with calendars. Workman Publishing was acquired by Hachette Book Group in the September of 2021. The conclusion of the deal ends the Workman family’s ownership of one of the industry’s best-known and most distinct independent publishers.
WPC has well-established imprints by the names of Workman, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Algonquin Young Readers, Artisan, Storey Publishing, and Timber Press. They are also the distributors for The Experiment, duopress, Erewhon Books, and Familius. In 2020, sales reached $134 million; by that time, under the direction of Workman family, the publisher had built a backlist of about 3,500 titles. It hosts various book events for a diverse range of authors that publish titles related everything from historical non-fiction to wellness.
10. Union Square and Co.
Originally founded in 1949 with the name ‘Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.’, UN&C is a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, who acquired it in 2003. The business will still be conducted using that name, but the publishing will now be under the new title of Union Square and Co.
It houses 6 imprints under the label, Union Square and Co, Union Square Kids, Sterling Pathos, Puzzlewright Press, Flash Kids, and Hearst Books. They are also distributers for more than half a dozen other publishers including Amber Books, Boxer Books, Enchanted World, etc. They have a massive collection from fiction, narrative and prescriptive nonfiction, food and drink, decorating, health and wellness, classics, humour and pop culture.
Imprints like Union Square Kids, offers picture books for young readers, chapter books, graphic novels, middle-grade and young-adult novels, as well as classics, reference, novelty and activity books.
Can't decide if you want to get traditionally published or self-publish your next title? Find out the difference here!