Book sales are transitioning to online sales — 55 percent of all book sales in the US are now made on Amazon. The top book publishing companies in the world are changing their sales strategies to target these new types of online customers through selling electronic versions (eBooks) of their books and targeting devices such as the Kindle and other readers as well. How much is the global book publishing industry worth? The global book publishing industry is worth USD 143 billion. The biggest book publishers in the world are Pearson, generating USD 6.07 billion in revenue annually. Pearson is followed by RELX Group, Thomson Reuters, and Penguin Random House on this list of publishing companies. This post will breakdown the top 10 book publishing companies in the world, as well as answer the following pressing questions about the global book publishing industry:
Who are the best book publishers in the world? Here is BizVibe’s list of the top book publishing companies in the world ranked various factors including popularity, revenue, and influence.
Who is the biggest book publisher in the world? Pearson ranks number 1 on our list of the top 10 book publishing companies. Pearson Education is a British-owned education publishing and assessment service to schools and corporations, as well for students directly. Pearson is known for owning educational media brands including Addison–Wesley, Peachpit, Prentice-Hall, eCollege, Longman, Scott Foresman, and others. Pearson operates in over 70 countries, but 60% of its revenues come from the North American market. The company is headquartered in London, England, UK, and brings in USD 6.07 billion in revenues annually — ranking it number 1 on this list of the top book publishing companies in the world.
Ranking 2nd on BizVibe’s list of the top 10 book publishing companies is RELX, a British corporate group comprising companies that publish scientific, technical, and medical material, and legal textbooks; provide decision-making tools, and organize exhibitions. The book publisher operates in over 40 countries and serves customers in over 180 nations. The company is the result of the merger of Reed International, a British trade book and magazine publisher, and Elsevier, a Netherlands-based scientific publisher. RELX brought in revenues of USD 5.6 billion — ranking it 2nd amongst the top publishing companies in the world in 2020 by revenue.
Thomson Reuters is a Canadian multinational media conglomerate and ranks 3rd on this list of the largest book publishers in the world. Thomson Reuters was founded in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where it is headquartered at 333 Bay Street. Thomson Reuters was ranked as Canada’s “leading corporate brand” in the 2010 Interbrand Best Canadian Brands ranking. Thomson Reuters has sponsored Canadian golf champion Mike Weir and the AT&T Williams Formula One team. It also sponsors Marketplace, a radio show from American Public Media. Thomson Reuters, among other media corporations, also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.
Ranking 4th on BizVibe’s list of the top book publishing companies in the world is Penguin Random House, a multinational conglomerate publishing company formed in 2013 from the merger of Random House, owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, and Penguin Group, owned by British publishing company Pearson plc. Penguin Random House comprises Penguin and Random House in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, and India; Penguin in Brazil, Asia, and South Africa; Dorling Kindersley worldwide; and Random House’s companies in Spain, Hispanic America, and Germany. Penguin Random House is one of the big five publishers and generated USD 3.3 billion last year — making it the biggest book publisher among the big 5 publishers in terms of revenue.
Ranking 5th on this list of the top 10 book publishing companies in the world is Hachette Livre, a French book publisher and one of the big 5 publishers in the world. Hachette Livre brought in annual revenues of USD 2.7 billion last year, making it the 2nd largest book publishers among the big five publishers, and 4th on this list. Hachette has its headquarters in the Beaugrenelle district in the 15th arrondissement of Paris.
Ranking 6th on this list top book publishing companies in the world is HarperCollins, one of the world’s largest publishing companies and is one of the Big Five English-language publishing companies, alongside Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan. HarperCollins is headquartered in New York City and is a subsidiary of News Corp. Last year, HarperCollins generated annual revenues of USD 1.57 billion — making it one of the biggest book publishers in the world.
Another one of the big 5 book publishers, Macmillan Publishers ranks 7th on the list of the top 10 book publishing companies. Generating USD 1.4 billion in revenues last year, Macmillan Publishers is a British publishing company owned by the German Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.
Bertelsmann ranks 8th on this list of the top book publishing companies in the world. Bertelsmann is a German private multinational conglomerate based in Gütersloh, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Last year, Bertelsmann generated USD 4.24 billion in revenues, making it one of the world’s largest media companies. Bertelsmann’s principal divisions include the RTL Group, Penguin Random House, Gruner + Jahr, BMG, Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group, and Bertelsmann Investments.
Scholastic Corporation ranks 9th on this list of the top 10 book publishing companies in the world with annual revenue of USD 1.74 billion. Scholastic Corporation is an American multinational publishing, education and media company known for publishing, selling, and distributing books and educational materials for schools, teachers, parents, and children. Scholastic also publishes instructional reading and writing programs and offers professional learning and consultancy services for school improvement. Clifford the Big Red Dog serves as the official mascot for Scholastic.
Rounding out BizVibe’s list of the top 10 largest book publishers in the world is McGraw-Hill Education, a learning science company and one of the “big three” educational publishers. Last year McGraw-Hill Education generated USD 1.71 billion in revenue. McGraw-Hill currently operates in 28 countries, has more than 5,000 employees globally, and offers products and services to over 135 countries in 60+ languages.
This is BizVibe’s list of the top 10 book publishing companies in the world. These companies are changing the way sales of books are being made in a transitioning industry. Reach out to these companies and figure out their best business practices when it comes to selling books.
Top Book Publishing Companies in the World by Revenue
Book Publishing Company
Revenue (USD billions)
|5||Penguin Random House||3.3|
With over 55 percent of sales already occurring on Amazon, it’s pretty evident that the future of book sales is in electronic products such as eBooks and audiobooks. The top book publishing companies in the world are already aware of this trend and shifting many of their marketing efforts to maximize sales online. Expect this trend to continue going forward, and expect it to be driven by the biggest book publishers discussed in this article. Get out and learn from these companies first.