A Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry – or: Books are a genuinely European matter

Publishing today, at least in a global perspective, is not just about books and authors. It is about information, knowledge, and education. It is as much about digital publishing as about ink on paper. It is a mirror of the global balance of (economic and technological) power, yet with surprises: It is far less about US, or even Anglo-Saxon cultural predominance than one may expect, but yes, it is an American-European domain, with Asian countries only starting to become visible in the big picture. And sure, expectedly, any glimpse at global publishing will portray an industry that is currently subject to extraordinary change and even turmoil. The top 45 publishing companies worldwide combine revenues of ca. 53.5 bn Euros (or ca. 73 bn $). This is certainly not a big industry, if compared to computers, or cars. Toyota alone had sales of 179 bn $ in 2006. But as publishing (which, in our definition, includes books of all kind, scientific journals and professional information in commercially run databases, yet excludes newspapers, wire services and magazines, as well as non-publishing revenues within those companies that we have in our ranking) is at the heart of today’s information economy. It is about stuff that truly matters, as those books and electronic archives hold a fair amount of what shapes the brains and minds around the globe.


Within our ranking, the top 10 companies account for ca. 2/3 of the combined top 45 revenues. The overall 73 bn $ from the top 45 companies, or all publishers with revenues of more than 200 m Euros (or 250 m $) in 2006, compare to a global publishing market of ca. 80 bn $ according to a statement of the International Publishers Association (IPA) in October 2006 at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Even if the IPA definition is probably a bit more restricted than ours, it clearly shows that the publishing industry has pretty much consolidated over the past 10 years.

For more, come to our press conference at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Wednesday, 10 October 2007, at 3 pm in the Press Centre (hall 6.2) or check out the basic facts and further links here

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