Sunday, February 08, 2009

Top Publishers in Sales

While reading a press release about Arbor Books, an “independent” publisher (meaning, in this case, the author pays for the services they need to get their book in print), I came across some interesting statistics. I thought I’d share with you. The statistics are on the top ten book publishing conglomerates in the U.S. Such statistics are not always easy to figure out, but this press release said the stats were from Thomas Nelson CEO, Michael S. Hyatt. These ten publishers apparently represent “just under 70% of the industry's $25 billion sales.”

Here they are:
1. Random House (18.0% market share)
2. Harper Collins (12.4% market share)
3. Pearson (9.1% market share)
4. Simon & Schuster (9.0% market share)
5. Hachette (5.9% market share)
6. Thomas Nelson (4.8% market share)
7. Holtzbrinck (4.6% market share)
8. Tyndale House (2.0% market share)
9. John Wiley (1.7% market share)
10. Scholastic (1.5% market share


  1. Interesting post. I'm not familiar with Pearson and they are in the top 3. I'm going to search for their site now.

  2. When you hear Pearson, think education. If you have kids, check their textbooks.

  3. Interesting. If I were to have guessed I'd have thought Random, Harper and Simon at top 3 in that order. Would not have thought of Pearson & Hachette in top 5.

  4. I'm almost surprised the textbook/educational publishers didn't beat out the other publishers,

  5. Unique mix in the top ten - where is Time Warner? They are supposed to be one of the big boys!

    And the term 'independent' publisher actually applies to any small publisher not in New York OR one of the "Big Six" - and they are are a traditional publisher. That means if one charges their authors for services, then they are a subsidy or vanity press.

    L. Diane Wolfe

  6. Thank you Diane. You're right, of course. I should have been more clear in that sentence. I was referring to Arbor Books who calls themselves an "independent" publisher and does so incorrectly. They have a list on their site of what you can buy, from ghostwriting to cove design to registrations.

  7. And what are the statistics of an author getting published by any of them? (G)

    Morgan Mandel

  8. Actually, the "chances" are pretty good. According to Bowker, the U.S. publishing industry published 276,649 new titles and editions in 2007. In the same year, the number of POD and short-run titles (these are tracked separately from the "traditional" segment) was 134,773. Percent of market share doesn't translate directly into number of titles, but there is clearly a relationship. 70% of the 276,649 is 193,654, so these 10 publishers probably published more titles than all of the small- and self-publishers combined. I think it would be interesting to know how many of those new titles were first books by new authors.

  9. How is Little Brown not on there with the Twilight explosion?

  10. Little Brown is up there, under Hachette.

    And I guess Scholastic (US publisher) was so low because Harry Potter had no new books out.


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