February Update: Top Ten Publishers in America

This is an update to the top ten publisher lists. We maintain two lists internally. First, we track all 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 Trade Publishers-4

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 and below to enlarge them. If you want to save the PDF files to your hard drive, right-click and download the linked files.)

Top Christian Publishers-3

What’s changed since the last time we published the list? These lists are based on revenues for the twelve months ending February 28, 2007. This data is drawn from a proprietary database we have created at Thomas Nelson. It is based on various point-of-sale systems from multiple sales channels.

The list of top ten trade publishers is almost the same as the last time we published it. The percentages shifted slightly but not much. However, Pearson has now edged out Simon & Schuster for the number three spot. (We previously had not included all of the Pearson imprints.) In addition, the list of top Christian publishers changed significantly.

In our previous reports, we kept wondering why Waterbrook Multnomah, now a combined division of Random House, wasn’t showing up higher in the list of Christian publishers. We were also surprised that FaithWords, the Christian division of Hachette (formerly Warner) wasn’t showing up on the list.

As it turns out, the databases we draw from had not fully converted their metadata to reflect the recent flurry of acquisitions and name changes. However, we made the changes internally and believe we now have all the titles mapped to the correct “parent” publisher.

Here’s a quick summary of what changed on the Top Ten Christian Publishers list:

  1. Each publisher’s market share was reduced slightly to account for the increased volume of Waterbrook Multnomah and FaithWords.
  2. Waterbrook Multnomah is now fifth on the top ten list. FaithWords is now eighth.
  3. Moody and Crossway fell off the list. They didn’t make the top ten.

I am not sure we will keep publishing this list. (We are having an internal debate about it.) But I did want to at least make sure we had corrected our earlier mistake in excluding Waterbrook Multnomah and FaithWords from the top ten Christian publishers list.

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