The Twenty Largest Publishers

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Simon & Schuster is the world's largest publishing organization, with about ten thousand employees and yearly revenues of $2 billion. Its various divisions publish trade, educational, business, and technical books. When looking for a job in book publishing, it is helpful to know who are the largest publishers. Here is a list of the twenty largest publishing groups, listed according to the parent company's name and relative ranking in terms of revenues:

  1. Simon & Schuster

  2. Time Publishing Group

  3. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (Harcourt General)

  4. Random House

  5. Reader's Digest

  6. McGraw-Hill

  7. Encyclopaedia Britannica

  8. Bantam Doubleday Dell (Bertelsmann)

  9. The Thomson Group

  10. Times Mirror

  11. HarperCollins

  12. Grolier

  13. Macmillan Publishing USA

  14. Houghton Mifflin

  15. Western Publishing

  16. World Book Encyclopedia

  17. John Wiley

  18. Penguin USA

  19. Putnam Group

  20. St. Martin's
Consult Literary Market Place for addresses of these companies and the names of their key personnel.

The Case for Large versus Small Publishers

A large publishing house is likely to have in-house training programs, educational benefits, and the opportunity to learn from the industry's brightest talents and to witness high-profile publishing develop. The downside: As a result of bigness, you may end up feeling pigeonholed, stymied, or unrecognized.

At a small house, salaries across the board are lower than they are with the big guys. Also, a small publisher has fewer personnel and calls on its people to go beyond their job descriptions. The learning process may be accelerated, but the disciplines that should accompany the learning are lacking.

Ultimately, when you are job-hunting, the choice is governed by the opportunities in the marketplace and, in the final analysis, it comes down to ability and personality. If you're resourceful and smart, you'll make it at a large or small publisher.

When we're dealing with trade publishers only, the list of the ten largest is as follows:
  1. Random House

  2. Bantam Doubleday Dell

  3. Simon & Schuster

  4. HarperCollins

  5. Penguin USA

  6. Time Warner Trade

  7. Putnam Berkley

  8. Hearst Trade Group

  9. St. Martin's

  10. Houghton Mifflin
Random House, at the top of the list, has yearly sales of about $1.2 billion, while Houghton Mifflin, at the bottom, has sales of about $100 million.

Publisher Simon & Schuster, does not have an organized internship program. Farrar, Straus & Giroux has unpaid internships year-round on a flexible schedule. If an opportunity exists for an internship at a publisher such as Farrar, Straus, by all means take it, especially while you're still in college and preferably between your sophomore and junior year. In numerous situations, unpaid interns have been hired by publishers for paid jobs.

Find out if the company you are applying to has an on-site internship supervisor. It is an important asset to a company's program.

You must send a resume and cover letter to apply for an internship. Follow the same procedure as if you were applying for a regular job. Often an interview is required for internships. Consider the interview as a major opportunity. Ask questions. Discuss your duties. Follow up the interview with a thank-you letter.

Although it is difficult to get any job at a book publisher, find out if the publisher you are applying to has a training program. It is worth the extra effort to get a job at a publisher that has a tradition of training. Publishers use these programs as a way of discovering and nurturing bright young stars.

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