Reading and Writing Miscellany

Publishing’s Big 6: Who are they?

College football has the Big 12. The accounting industry has the Big 4. Publishing? The Big 6.

A lot of us are familiar with Macmillan due to their recent battle over eBook pricing. They're one of the six. But who are the other five?

This post started as a quick look into just that, but then I thought maybe I'd also list a little bit of information about their imprints. Imprints are nothing more than trade names a publisher uses when publishing in a narrower field. Tor, for example, is an imprint of Macmillan that focuses on fantasy and science fiction. But as I started to dig into each of the Big 6's imprint information I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer number. As you can see below, it borders on the ridiculous.

Therefore, the focus of this post is to just list out the major publishing houses along with some high level info about each. Their imprints have been relegated to a simple list with links so you can click-through to find out more information if you so desire.

Here they are.

1. Hachette Book Group

Hachette Book GroupHachette Book Group is a leading US trade publisher headquartered in New York, and owned by Hachette Livre, the second largest publisher in the world.  In one year, HBG publishes approximately 450 adult books, 150 young adult and children’s books, and 60 audio book titles. In 2008, the company had a record 107 books on the New York Times bestseller list, with 35 of them ranked #1.  In addition to selling and distributing its own imprints, HBG distributes publishing lines for Chronicle Books, Microsoft Learning, Arcade, Time Inc. Home Entertainment, Harry N. Abrams, InnovativeKids, Phaidon Press, Filipacchi Publishing, Kensington, MQ Publications, Strictly By The Book, Weinstein Books and Gildan Media.

Imprints include: Grand Central Publishing, Vision, Forever, Twelve, Business Plus, Wellness Central, 5 Spot, Springboard Press, Faith Words, Windblown Media, Center Street, Hachette Audio, Little, Brown and Company, Back Bay Books, Bulfinch, Reagan Arthur Books, Poppy, LB Kids, Orbit, Yen Press

2. HarperCollins

HarperCollinsHarperCollins Publishers is one of the world’s leading English-language publishers. Headquartered in New York, the company is a subsidiary of News Corporation. The house of Mark Twain, the Brontë sisters, Thackeray, Dickens, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Margaret Wise Brown, HarperCollins was founded in New York City in 1817 as J. and J. Harper, later Harper & Brothers, by James and John Harper. In 1987, as Harper & Row, it was acquired by News Corporation. The worldwide book group was formed following News Corporation’s 1990 acquisition of the British publisher William Collins & Sons. Founded in 1819, William Collins & Sons published a range of Bibles, atlases, dictionaries, and reissued classics, expanding over the years to include legendary authors, such as H. G. Wells, Agatha Christie, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis. HarperCollins has publishing groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia/New Zealand, and India. Today, HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children’s books, cookbooks, and mystery, romance, reference, religious, and spiritual books. Consistently at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement, HarperCollins is the first publisher to digitize its content and create a global digital warehouse to protect the rights of its authors, meet consumer demand, and generate additional business opportunities.

Imprints include: Amistad, Avon, Avon A, Avon Inspire, Avon Red, Caedmon, Collins, Harper Business, Collins Design, Collins Living, Ecco, Eos, Harper Mass Market, Harper Paperbacks, Harper Perennial, HarperAudio, HarperCollins, HarperCollins e-Books, ItBooks, HarperLuxe, HarperOne, HarperStudio, Morrow Cookbooks, Rayo, William Morrow, Amistad, Eos, Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Children's Audio, HarperCollins Children's Books, HarperFestival, HarperEntertainment, HarperTeen, HarperTrophy, Joanna Cotler Books, Julie Andrews Collection, Katherine Tegen Books, Laura Geringer Books, Rayo

3. Macmillan

MacmillanMacmillan is the new face of a company with a rich history in the publishing industry. The adult trade collection comes from a distinctive conglomerate of leading publishing imprints. Macmillan’s other primary focuses are on educating the leaders and thinkers of tomorrow with its college and academic titles, and magazines and journals.

Imprints include: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, FSG Hardcovers, FSG Paperbacks, Hill & Wang, Faber & Faber, First Second, Henry Holt & Co., Henry Holt Hardcovers, Henry Holt Paperbacks, Metropolitan Books, Times Books, Macmillan Audio, Behind the Wheel, Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Picador, Quick and Dirty Tips, Scientific American, St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, Thomas Dunne Books, Tor/Forge, Tor Books, Forge Books, Orb Books, Tor/Seven Seas, Bedford, Freeman and Worth, Bedford/St. Martin’s, W.H. Freeman, Worth Publishers, BFW High School, Hayden-McNeil, Palgrave Macmillan, Trade Books For Courses, FSG Books for Young Readers, Feiwel & Friends, Holt Books for Young Readers, Kingfisher, Roaring Brook, Priddy Books, Starscape/Tor Teen, Square Fish, Young Listeners, Macmillan Kids

4. Penguin Group

Penguin GroupPenguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. affiliate of the internationally renowned Penguin Group, one of the largest English-language trade book publishers in the world. Formed in 1996 as a result of the merger between Penguin Books USA and The Putnam Berkley Group, Penguin Group (USA), under the stewardship of Chief Executive Officer, David Shanks, and President, Susan Petersen Kennedy, is a leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publisher. The Penguin Group, with operations in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa and China, is led by CEO and Chairman, John Makinson, and is owned by Pearson plc. Pearson is an international media company with market-leading businesses in education, business information, and consumer publishing.

Imprints include: Ace Books, Alpha Books, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, Avery, Berkley Books, Dial Books for Young Readers, Dutton Books, Dutton Children's Books, Firebird, Frederick Warne, Gotham Books, G.P. Putnam's Sons, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Grosset & Dunlap, HP Books, Hudson Street Press, Jove, NAL, Pamela Dorman Books, Penguin, The Penguin Press, Perigee Books, Philomel Books, Plume, Portfolio, Prentice Hall Press, Price Stern Sloan, Puffin Books, Razorbill, Riverhead, Sentinel, Speak, Tarcher, The Viking Press, Viking Books for Young Readers

5. Random House

Random HouseRandom House, Inc. is the U.S. division of Random House, the world's largest trade-book publisher, and is owned by Bertelsmann AG, one of the world's foremost media companies. Random House, Inc. assumed its current ownership with its acquisition by Bertelsmann in 1998, which brought together the imprints of the former Random House, Inc. with those of the former Bantam Doubleday Dell. Random House, Inc.'s adult publishing groups are the Crown Publishing Group, the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, and the Random House Publishing Group. The Random House Children's Books division is the world's largest publisher of books for young readers. Together, these groups and their imprints publish fiction and nonfiction, both original and reprints, by some of the foremost and most popular writers of our time. They appear in a full range of formats—including hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, audio, electronic, and digital, for the widest possible readership from adults to young adults and children.

Imprints include: Crown Trade Group, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Random House Publishing Group, RH Audio Publishing Group, Random House Children’s Books, RH Information Group, RH International, RH Large Print

6. Simon & Schuster

Simon & SchusterSimon & Schuster, Inc. is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, providing consumers worldwide with a diverse range of quality books across a wide variety of genres and formats. It is the publishing operation of CBS Corporation, one of the world’s premier media companies. Simon & Schuster was founded in 1924 by Richard L. (Dick) Simon and M. Lincoln (Max) Schuster. Their initial project was a crossword puzzle book, the first ever produced, which was a runaway bestseller. From that, the company has grown to become a multifaceted publishing house that publishes 1800 titles annually, and whose seven divisions — Adult Publishing, Children’s Publishing, Audio, Digital, and international companies in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia — are home to some of the most distinguished imprints and recognizable brand names in the world of publishing.   Simon & Schuster and its imprints have won 54 Pulitzer Prizes, and been the recipient of numerous National Book Awards, National Book Critics Circle Awards, Grammy Awards, and Newbery and Caldecott Medals.

Imprints include: Aladdin, Atheneum, Atria, Beach Lane Books, Folger Shakespeare Library, Free Press, Howard Books, Little Simon, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Paula Wiseman Books, Pimsleur, Pocket, Scribner, Simon & Schuster, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster BFYR, Simon Pulse, Simon Spotlight, Threshold, Touchstone/Fireside

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Comments (8) -

  • Steven Till
    I was not aware Tor and St. Martin's were a part of Macmillan. What is the latest on the issue b/w Amazon and Macmillan? I haven't been following it.

    I had heard of the last five, but I wasn't familiar with Hachette. Do you know if they publish fantasy or historical fiction titles?
  • Scott Marlowe
    I noticed Tor right away (b/c their books were delisted from Amazon along with all the other Macmillan titles)--they also seem to carry a lot of the f/sf I like to read. Amazon finally capitulated, agreeing to Macmillan's terms. Macmillan was only pushing for increased pricing on new and current releases, though, so we should see those eBooks retail for around $15 but they'll get reduced in price the longer the title is out. Kind of the way pricing works for most products.

    Orbit is Hachette's sf/f imprint:
  • Nutschell Windsor
    What an awesome list! Full of information all writers should know. Thanks for putting all this info together. Would you mind if I share this with my writing group members? I'd love to use your post as one of the handouts for my workshop this Saturday. Smile

  • scottmarlowe
    Thanks, Nutschell. Please do share it. More the merrier.
  • Nutschell Windsor
    Wonderful! Thanks, Scott. My workshop participants will definitely appreciate this. Of course, I'll let them know about you and your books as wellSmile
  • scottmarlowe
    Sounds good to me! Feel free to leave another comment letting me know how it went. Thanks.
  • Katherine Kimes
    Scott--thanks for putting together this list--very helpful.  I was just wondering if you knew which would be the best imprint for creative nonfiction publishing?

  • scottmarlowe
    Hi Katherine,

    Sorry, I don't. I'm primarily interested in the fiction market, so I'm not too familiar with publishers or imprints that publish non-fiction.

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