The US book publishing industry consists of about 2,600 companies with combined annual revenue of about $27 billion. Major companies include John Wiley & Sons, McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Scholastic, as well as publishing units of large media companies such as HarperCollins (owned by News Corp); Random House (owned by Bertelsmann); and Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS). The industry is highly concentrated: the top 50 companies generate about 80 percent of revenue.
Demand for books is driven by demographics and is largely resistant to economic cycles. The profitability of individual companies depends on product development and marketing. Large publishers have an advantage in bidding for new manuscripts or authors. Small and midsized publishers can succeed if they focus on a specific subject or market.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Publishers produce books for general reading (adult "trade" books); text, professional, technical, children's, and reference books. Trade books account for 25 percent of the market, textbooks 25 percent, and professional books 20 percent.
About 150,000 new books are published in the US every year; however, most are low-volume products. The number of books produced by major trade publishers and university presses is closer to 40,000.
Operations include acquiring content, managing relationships with authors, editing, designing books, manufacturing, and marketing. Publishers acquire content by contracting with authors to produce new work, buying finished manuscripts offered for sale, or acquiring the rights to existing content through licensing agreements.