Top Ten Book Publishers in America (Through March 2008)

It’s been more than a year since I updated our list of the Top Ten Publishers in America. Because of some changes in the available point-of-sale data, we were not able to get create a reliable ranking. However, we have seen an improvement in recent months. It’s not perfect, but we do believe it represents the best data currently available.

Top Ten Trade Publishers

These lists are based on revenues for the twelve months ending March 31, 2008. We created these lists from a proprietary database we have assembled at Thomas Nelson. It is based on various point-of-sale systems from multiple sales channels.

We maintain two lists internally. First, we track the Top Ten Trade Publishers. (Publishers whose books are primarily sold through retail booksellers as opposed to, say, textbook publishers.) The various imprints are consolidated into their parent companies. So, for example, HarperCollins includes William Morrow and Zondervan. Simon & Schuster includes Free Press, Pocket Books, Howard Books, Scribner, etc.

Top Ten Christian Publishers

Second, we track all Christian publishers. In this case, we break out the Christian imprints of the trade publishers and rank them against each other. That’s why Zondervan, for example, is on the second list but not the first list. (Click on the images above to enlarge them.

What’s changed since the last time we published the list? A couple of things. First, on the Top Trade Publishers our ranking has dropped from #6 to #7. This is due to sales of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from Scholastic. This one title propelled Scholastic from #10 to #6 and bumped us down to in the process. If you remove this one title from the database, we are still #6.

Pearson also overtook HarperCollins for the #2 slot. The other percentages within the list shifted slightly.

You may be wondering how John Wiley and Scholastic (without Harry Potter) could be smaller than Thomas Nelson. Keep in mind that our ranking only considers trade sales. Both Wiley and Scholastic have giant academic, professional and technical publishing programs that aren’t considered trade sales. In addition, Scholastic has a book fair program, whose sales are not included here.

In terms of the Top Christian Publishers, the ranking of the top five publishing houses remained the same, though the market share percentages changed. We gained market share (180 basis points), along with Tyndale and Baker. Zondervan and Waterbrook Multnomah lost market share.

The bottom five on the list swamped positions and NavPress fell off the list entirely. They were replaced by Moody at #10.

Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://www.wmarkwhitlock.com/ W. Mark Whitlock

    Congratulations to you and your team. I hope many of those who were "downsized" also feel a sense of accomplishment for their work during your last year.

    Knowing you, you won't–nor let your team–rest on their laurels. Hope to read a blog entry soon that outlines your thoughts on how to grow Nelson by 360 basis points between this report and next June's.

  • http://www.wmarkwhitlock.com W. Mark Whitlock

    Congratulations to you and your team. I hope many of those who were “downsized” also feel a sense of accomplishment for their work during your last year.

    Knowing you, you won’t–nor let your team–rest on their laurels. Hope to read a blog entry soon that outlines your thoughts on how to grow Nelson by 360 basis points between this report and next June’s.

  • http://www.marydemuth.com/ Mary E. DeMuth

    Thanks for showing these graphics. It's nice to see it all visually and understand the stats.

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary E. DeMuth

    Thanks for showing these graphics. It’s nice to see it all visually and understand the stats.

  • http://www.colleencoble.com/ Colleen Coble

    It's always interesting to me to see this side of publishing! I get focused on my own little world of the computer, words, character and plot. If we could just figure out how to have a blockbuster like the Harry Potter books! :)

    I've been watching your Twitter updates on your challenges with your MacBook Pro, Mike. Glad it seems to be on its way to be fixed! I hate computer issues more than anything. Especially since I looove my little MacBook so much. I thought they were invincible though. You've scared me!

    • Justin D. Hill

      ATTN Colleen:
      (Fiction, Scify/Action/Adventure) An extra-dimensional civilization leaves behind the seeds to spur life forward after a darkness known as the Xanthian rips reality as it was once known into nothing. Artificial Intelligence recreates a structured existence over the period of 13.6 billion years until human beings become aware of the presence of darkness and destruction. The few remaining surviving celestial entities from before the darkness recognize these humans and bring about a calculated evolutionary rush in the human species in order to battle against and defend life from the darkness known as the Xanthian. Jason, and Corey Wrigben befriend and befamily Jaisen McClaney as odd sensations and visions begin to make them aware of their connection to guardian programs written by the A.I. Oblivion, and begin a very unique change in their sliver of reality. Can they make enough of a difference to spread out through all realities and stop the Xanthian before it devours the last hospitible place for life in all of existence? Or will the endless torment and misery of the poisonous miasma radiation known as the Xanthian be too much and finally devour Oblivion and the last traces of existence and finally find peaceful solitude rest in non-existence, at the cost of all life? https://www.facebook.com/ZodacciaInc.GraphicsDesigns

      Book 1 will be ready for the editing/publishing process within the next 3 months.

      But thats only when I find a publishing company who will do the most with the funding I provide to get it out there.  Sound like a blockbuster? feel free to chat me up about the series.

  • http://www.colleencoble.com Colleen Coble

    It’s always interesting to me to see this side of publishing! I get focused on my own little world of the computer, words, character and plot. If we could just figure out how to have a blockbuster like the Harry Potter books! :)

    I’ve been watching your Twitter updates on your challenges with your MacBook Pro, Mike. Glad it seems to be on its way to be fixed! I hate computer issues more than anything. Especially since I looove my little MacBook so much. I thought they were invincible though. You’ve scared me!

  • http://www.LynCote.net/ Lyn Cote

    Hi Mike,
    I always find info like this interesting. But I was wondering what are the top ten mass market publishers in all and in the Christian markets? Do you have figures on them?
    Lyn http://www.LynCote.net

  • http://www.LynCote.net Lyn Cote

    Hi Mike,
    I always find info like this interesting. But I was wondering what are the top ten mass market publishers in all and in the Christian markets? Do you have figures on them?
    Lyn
    http://www.LynCote.net

  • Young Lee

    Weldone

  • Young Lee

    Weldone

  • http://carrenho.typepad.com/blogdoseditores/2008/06/thomas-nelson-o.html Blog dos Editores

    Thomas Nelson ocupa 7ª posição em ranking dos EUA

    Em seu post mais recente, Mike publicou o ranking por faturamento das editoras que atuam no mercado trade (i.e. livrarias e varejo) norte-americano. A Thomas Nelson desceu de 6º lugar em 2007 para 7º lugar este ano.

  • http://carrenho.typepad.com/blogdoseditores/2008/06/thomas-nelson-o.html Blog dos Editores

    Thomas Nelson ocupa 7ª posição em ranking dos EUA

    Em seu post mais recente, Mike publicou o ranking por faturamento das editoras que atuam no mercado trade (i.e. livrarias e varejo) norte-americano. A Thomas Nelson desceu de 6º lugar em 2007 para 7º lugar este ano.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael S. Hyatt

    @Lyn: I'm not quite sure what you mean by "mass market publishers." Can you clarify?

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael S. Hyatt

    @Lyn: I’m not quite sure what you mean by “mass market publishers.” Can you clarify?

  • http://www.LynCote.net/ Lyn Cote

    Hi Mike,
    I was referring to book format.

    Since you used the term "trade" I assumed that you were talking about trade paperbacks. Were you using "trade" in this way or another meaning?

    I'm always interested in the different formats and how they perform in different markets.

    So are you talking oranges and I'm talking apples or did I understand you correctly? Were you speaking about primarily publishers who publish trade paperbacks?
    TIA.
    Lyn

  • http://www.LynCote.net Lyn Cote

    Hi Mike,
    I was referring to book format.

    Since you used the term “trade” I assumed that you were talking about trade paperbacks. Were you using “trade” in this way or another meaning?

    I’m always interested in the different formats and how they perform in different markets.

    So are you talking oranges and I’m talking apples or did I understand you correctly? Were you speaking about primarily publishers who publish trade paperbacks?
    TIA.
    Lyn

  • http://carrenho.typepad.com/blogdoseditores/2008/06/thomas-nelson-o.html Blog dos Editores

    Thomas Nelson ocupa 7ª posição nos EUA

    Em seu post mais recente, Mike publicou o ranking por faturamento das editoras que atuam no mercado trade (i.e. livrarias e varejo) norte-americano. A Thomas Nelson desceu de 6º lugar em 2007 para 7º lugar este ano.

  • http://carrenho.typepad.com/blogdoseditores/2008/06/thomas-nelson-o.html Blog dos Editores

    Thomas Nelson ocupa 7ª posição nos EUA

    Em seu post mais recente, Mike publicou o ranking por faturamento das editoras que atuam no mercado trade (i.e. livrarias e varejo) norte-americano. A Thomas Nelson desceu de 6º lugar em 2007 para 7º lugar este ano.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael S. Hyatt

    @Lyn: Yes, we are talking apples and oranges. By "trade books," I mean all book formats selling through consumer retail outlets. This would include cloth, trade paper, mass paperbacks, etc. Thanks.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael S. Hyatt

    @Lyn: Yes, we are talking apples and oranges. By “trade books,” I mean all book formats selling through consumer retail outlets. This would include cloth, trade paper, mass paperbacks, etc. Thanks.

  • http://michaeldmiller.wordpress.com/ mike miller

    Mike thanks for mentioning NavPress in your post thought you would like to see my response in my blog.
    Thanks for the helpful information.
    http://michaeldmiller.wordpress.com/

  • http://michaeldmiller.wordpress.com mike miller

    Mike thanks for mentioning NavPress in your post thought you would like to see my response in my blog.
    Thanks for the helpful information.

    http://michaeldmiller.wordpress.com/

  • Lyn Cote

    Okay, Mike. Glad we got the fruit sorted out!
    Lyn

  • Lyn Cote

    Okay, Mike. Glad we got the fruit sorted out!
    Lyn

  • Lee Poteet

    It is all very well, but i still can't find the Bible I need, i.e., a very large print edition of the Authorized King James version with the Apocrapha. And why do Bible publishers feel free to call an old and new Testament without the apocrapha, a Bible, especially if it is the King James translation? Isn't that a bit of re-writing of history?

  • Lee Poteet

    It is all very well, but i still can’t find the Bible I need, i.e., a very large print edition of the Authorized King James version with the Apocrapha. And why do Bible publishers feel free to call an old and new Testament without the apocrapha, a Bible, especially if it is the King James translation? Isn’t that a bit of re-writing of history?

  • VRK

    Hi Mike – thanks for this great post. I was wondering roughly what's the overall size of the market as you defined it here in terms of absolute $?

    Thanks!

  • VRK

    Hi Mike – thanks for this great post. I was wondering roughly what’s the overall size of the market as you defined it here in terms of absolute $?

    Thanks!

  • http://www.booknolia.com/ Parham

    Hi Michael,

    Great post! From time to time I check your blog and I am amazed by your overall web presence in Facebook, Twitter, and this blog. You are probably the single most active executive from publishing industry taking advantage of the Internet :-)

    I have been trying to find statistical data on publishers domestically and internationally. Could you please let me know where did you find the data presented in the both charts? Is there a way to know the sales or percentage of Top 20 publishers?

    Much appreciated

  • http://www.booknolia.com Parham

    Hi Michael,

    Great post! From time to time I check your blog and I am amazed by your overall web presence in Facebook, Twitter, and this blog. You are probably the single most active executive from publishing industry taking advantage of the Internet :-)

    I have been trying to find statistical data on publishers domestically and internationally. Could you please let me know where did you find the data presented in the both charts? Is there a way to know the sales or percentage of Top 20 publishers?

    Much appreciated

  • http://true-small-caps.blogspot.com/ Derek

    Parham: It's hard to find total sales figures because the largest publishers are part of even larger corporations, some of which are privately held:

    NewCorp (HarperCollins, Avon, Zondervan, William Morrow)

    CBS (Simon & Schuster, Scribner, Fireside, Touchstone)

    Bertelsmann (Random House, Doubleday, Dell, Knopf, Bantam, Ballantine)

    Lagardère (Hachette, Little Brown, Orbit)

    Pearson (Penguin)

    Holzbrink (Farrar Strous Geroux, Macmillan, Tor, Holt, Picador, St. Martin's)

  • http://true-small-caps.blogspot.com/ Derek

    Parham: It’s hard to find total sales figures because the largest publishers are part of even larger corporations, some of which are privately held:

    NewCorp (HarperCollins, Avon, Zondervan, William Morrow)

    CBS (Simon & Schuster, Scribner, Fireside, Touchstone)

    Bertelsmann (Random House, Doubleday, Dell, Knopf, Bantam, Ballantine)

    Lagardère (Hachette, Little Brown, Orbit)

    Pearson (Penguin)

    Holzbrink (Farrar Strous Geroux, Macmillan, Tor, Holt, Picador, St. Martin’s)

  • Tuhin

    Hello
    I am a writer. I have written a book. can you recommend me a good publisher who will not take money but consider my novel whether it is ok or not?
    If you have pls do a good to me by sending me an email.

    Tuhin Rahman

  • Tuhin

    Hello
    I am a writer. I have written a book. can you recommend me a good publisher who will not take money but consider my novel whether it is ok or not?
    If you have pls do a good to me by sending me an email.

    Tuhin Rahman

  • Annie Wepton

    hello
    may I ask what the most quickly and without money way to contact with publishers
    can you teach me what the process is if I published my book
    my book is almost done, the only thing bothers me is i am afraid if those publishers won't send anything back to me.
    thank you so much
    my name is Annie Wepton

  • Annie Wepton

    hello
    may I ask what the most quickly and without money way to contact with publishers
    can you teach me what the process is if I published my book
    my book is almost done, the only thing bothers me is i am afraid if those publishers won't send anything back to me.
    thank you so much
    my name is Annie Wepton

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    I would start by reading my post, “Advice to First Time Authors.” It provides step-by-step guidance.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    I would start by reading my post, “Advice to First Time Authors.” It provides step-by-step guidance.

  • Pingback: Top Ten U.S. Book Publishers for 2009

  • http://www.forgiveandlove.com george nx

    i am george from India . i have written a book from my real life experience – How Jesus Taught Me To Forgive & Love . Book is available to read through Harper Collins website http://www.authonomy.com
    People from 68 countries read this book through http://www.forgiveandlove.com Now the final editing work is going on . I am looking for a good publisher , can you give me advice .

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I would start by reading my post, “Advice to First Time Authors.” It provides step-by-step guidance.

  • http://www.forgiveandlove.com/ george nx

    i am george from India . i have written a book from my real life experience – How Jesus Taught Me To Forgive & Love . Book is available to read through Harper Collins website <a href="http://www.authonomy.com” target=”_blank”>www.authonomy.com
    People from 68 countries read this book through <a href="http://www.forgiveandlove.com” target=”_blank”>www.forgiveandlove.com Now the final editing work is going on . I am looking for a good publisher , can you give me advice .

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I would start by reading my post, “Advice to First Time Authors.” It provides step-by-step guidance.

  • Francis G. King

    I have been searching through a lot of different publishers, but from the looks of things my chances of actually getting noticed by any of the really large publishing houses. Do you have any advise on self publishing. From what I've seen it isn't the cheapest, nor the most assured investment. If not that's o.k. too.

    If anyone wants to take a look, I've just started a blog and I'm going to keep track of what I've been doing to see if I could find a self publishing company that works for me:
    http://existencechronicles.blogspot.com/
    Learn from my mistakes so you don't have to make them.

  • Francis G. King

    I have been searching through a lot of different publishers, but from the looks of things my chances of actually getting noticed by any of the really large publishing houses. Do you have any advise on self publishing. From what I've seen it isn't the cheapest, nor the most assured investment. If not that's o.k. too.

    If anyone wants to take a look, I've just started a blog and I'm going to keep track of what I've been doing to see if I could find a self publishing company that works for me:
    http://existencechronicles.blogspot.com/
    Learn from my mistakes so you don't have to make them.

  • Julian

    Hi, I'm a newcomer to this blog, lately I've been trying hard to reach an honest Publisher to Publish my 60-70 completed short, children's stories, but it's still a challenge due to so many scams in the Trade of which I had no knowledge before.
    Could someone please tell me why Religious groups of all denominations consider the Harry Potter stories bad for their kids? My granddaughter has read all 7 books and she's not posessed or anything like it, I read them all first, twice! I don't get it? I'm a religious person, believe in God, returned to Church (Baptist) recently and I just see these stories as fiction stories with no impact on reality, Rowling is a gifted writer and I wish her the best, also that she won't stop writing. (I wish I could say the same about Politics and their impact on people all over the World). If anyone out there has a logical response I would appreciate it. Thank you,
    Julian

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think Christians are like any other large group of people: you will find a variety of opinions on almost every topic. I know plenty of Christians who love Harry Potter.

      With regard to short, children’s stories, I don’t know where to direct you, other than you will need an agent first. They will be able to point you to legitimate publishers.

  • Pingback: Friday Best, two days late « The Entrepreneurial Writer

  • Rehanasafia

    Could you publish these 10 Quotes for humanity at large as BOOK MARKS?
    1.Live and let live.
    2.Love not hate.
    3.Unite not divide.
    4.Save lives not take them.
    5.Peace not violence.
    6.Make friends not foes.
    7.God has etched His Judgment into every human conscience for our guidance.
    8.Religions are a disease,clergy its virus.
    9.There are no nouns in God’s Judgment but you shall find a lot of nouns in religions.
    10.One God.One God’s Judgment.We are one human race.

  • Rehanasafia

    If you want to love God then love your fellowmen.
    Be kind to your wife and kids to make your home a Heaven instead of Hell.
    Mind your words and action for these two causes violence.
    God’s guidance is etched into every human conscience for us to run for God not human beings.

  • Estelle Stokes

    Can someone give me advice on the best publishing trusting company to help me with my book. I need someone to review my work and give me advice or an idea if the book can make it. Also I have about 60 pages so far. Can I copy right just the material I have completed so far. It is a murder mystery.

  • Michael Faithfull

    i got this awesome idea for a epic book series called extinction i was wondering about how much does it cost 4 a copyrigh

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It doesn’t cost anything for a copyright. U.S. Copyright Law provides you with copyright protection from the moment you create the work. You can register the copyright if you want, but it is not necessary.