Is ‘publishing’ just about books? Not exactly!
June 19, 2007 by ruediger

We proudly announce the birth of our new baby – the Livres Hebdo Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry, or the first reliable list of all publishing groups from around the globe with revenues of over 200 million Euros or 250 million dollars.

For almost 10 months, we were researched, tracked down data and people helping us, kept checking and cross checking numbers and sources, in order to produce a list of the top 45 groups, plus many of their major sub-divisions and sometimes even regional break down figures, plus an ample documentation on who is doing what exactly.

 And guess what, we did not find only books.  Almost the contrary is true, as the top 5 include only 1 and a half traditional ‘trade publishers’, with Pearson’s Penguin division (Pearson being #2), and with Bertelsmann (#5).

 The world’s biggest houses are Reed Elsevier, Pearson, Thomson, Bertelsmann and Wolters Kluwer.

Take also note that the top 45 groups account for a turnover of ca. 52 billion Euros – with almost half of it from non-Anglo-Saxon corporations. This compares to the number of 80 billion dollars (or 60 billion Euros) for all of global publishing, according to last year’s estimate by the International Publishers Association IPA. Or, our 45 ranked publishers account for a really hefty chunk of our industry.

The definition of ‘publishing’ as used on the ranking includes book publishing (trade, STM, education, etc.), book clubs, other closely related activities (e.g. retail or distribution), relevant database publishing (e.g. professional information) and journals. It excludes however newspaper and consumer magazine publishing.

I suppose these numbers, and what’s in them at a closer look, will trigger some debate, even more so as over the next weeks, the ranking will be co-piublished, aside from the French Livres Hebdo, by Publishers Weekly (US), Buchreport (Germany), Svensk Bokhandel (Sweden) and Publishing Today (PR China).

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