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A Guide to Working in the Publishing Industry: Statistics, Careers, and Trends



The publishing industry continues to grow and evolve, providing a wealth of career opportunities for a range of professionals, from editors to book designers.

Global publishing is now a $119 billion market, according to IBISWorld, with over 16,000 businesses operating in the industry. U.S. book publishers saw a 6.9% year-over-year revenue increase in 2019, as reported by the Association of American Publishers. Meanwhile, the internet and digital publishing tools have made books more accessible to readers across the globe and revolutionized how many companies operate.

Publishing is going strong and experiencing rapid change, making it an attractive career field for future professionals of many backgrounds and interests.

See Also: reputation guards

The publishing industry landscape

If you’re an aspiring publishing professional, you should understand the different types of publishing and research the leading industry players before deciding which area you’d like to work in.

Trade publishing

Trade publishers produce books for a general audience of readers, including novels, biographies, and children’s books. The top five trade publishing companies are:

  • Hachette Book Group
  • HarperCollins
  • Penguin Random House
  • Simon & Schuster
  • MacMillan Publishers

Academic publishing

Academic publishers produce books for schools and universities, such as textbooks. Leading academic publishing companies include:

  • Cambridge University Press
  • Oxford University Press
  • Routledge
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Palgrave Macmillan

Independent publishing

Independent publishers, or small presses, are not affiliated with large corporations. As such, they may have more creative freedom in producing and marketing books, commonly publishing material for niche genres and specific communities.

Examples of independent publishing companies include:

  • Bellevue Literary Press
  • City Lights Publishers
  • Coffee House Press
  • Enchanted Lion Books
  • Graywolf Press


Self-publishing platforms allow authors almost complete control over the publishing process, from price to art direction to distribution. This option has become increasingly popular, as evidenced by the 40% increase in self-published books from 2017 to 2018.

Top self-publishing platforms include:

  • Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing
  • Barnes & Noble Press
  • Apple Books
  • Lulu
  • Reedsy

Careers in the publishing industry

The publishing process is complex, spanning many different fields and careers. Here’s a breakdown of the steps — and job roles — involved in taking a book from being written to sold.


Acquisition occurs when a publishing company buys the rights to a book from an author, literary agent, or editor. Books are often acquired based on samples or proposals, as well as their projected ability to drive sales.

Career: Literary Agent

Literary agents represent writers, acting as intermediaries between authors and publishing companies. They often review manuscripts and pitch them to publishers on their clients’ behalf. They also help clients negotiate contracts and deals with favorable terms, such as larger advances. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), agents of independent artists, writers, and performers earned a median salary of $71,380 in 2019.


Editing involves making structural changes and major revisions to a book as needed. It entails adjusting elements such as narrative, pacing, length, tone, and characterization to make the book more readable and salable.

Career: Book Editor

Book editors fulfill these responsibilities, preparing manuscripts for publication. They may work in-house with publishing companies or as freelance consultants, such as for independent publishers and self-published authors. According to July 2020 data from PayScale, book editors earn a median annual salary of around $46,000.

Copy editing

Copy editing goes beyond structural editing to find and correct small errors in the text, such as spelling and punctuation issues. It may also involve fact-checking statistics and information.

Career: Proofreader

Proofreaders carefully go through the latest version of a manuscript, correcting any typographical and grammatical issues before confirming it’s ready for design and layout. According to the BLS, proofreaders earned a median salary of $38,510 in 2019.


Designing involves creating cover art and choosing images and illustrations to be included in the book. It may also entail preparing the book layout, such as spacing and margins, for printing or online publishing according to the publishing company’s style guidelines.

Career: Book Designer

Book designers may specialize in certain areas, such as cover design, print design, or e-book design. According to July 2020 data from PayScale, book designers earn a median annual salary of around $31,000.


Book production is the process of binding and printing a new publication. Publishing companies often print a small number of advance copies of a book to be checked by the editor and sent to reviewers before it hits shelves. Once the advance edition receives approval, the book can be printed for sale and distribution.

Career: Book Publisher

Book publishers manage each stage of the production process, ensuring that the manuscript is on schedule for its publication date. According to July 2020 data from PayScale, book publishers earn a median annual salary of around $50,000.

Distribution and sales

A publishing company or self-publishing author distributes copies of a book to retailers, wholesalers, and libraries. They may also send digital copies to online marketplaces for e-book sales. Publishing companies can also help authors negotiate sales for international distribution, as well as movie or TV rights.

Career: Book Buyer

Book buyers or purchasing managers work with bookstores and distributors to find publications for them to sell. These professionals use factors such as customer demographics, retailer locations, and costs to choose the best products for each seller. According to the BLS, purchasing managers and buyers earned a median salary of $69,600 in 2019.


Marketing involves promoting new books for sale. Publishing companies and authors might work with bookstores, catalogs, book conferences and fairs, and media outlets to advertise their publications. Today, authors are also encouraged to conduct online outreach through channels such as social media, blogs, newsletters, and podcasts.

Career: Publicist

Publicists work with authors and publishing companies to build campaigns for new books about to hit the market. Their responsibilities can include sourcing customer reviews and scheduling interviews, readings, and signings. According to July 2020 data from Pay Scale, publicists earn a median annual salary of around $49,000.

How to get a job in the publishing industry

If you’re interested in building a career in the publishing industry, use these actionable tips to get started.

Earn a degree in a related field

Find a bachelor’s degree program in your desired career field, such as publishing, marketing, or communications. The program should provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to begin building a portfolio and pursuing opportunities to gain experience in your preferred job role.

Gain experience with an internship

Complement your education with hands-on, real-world experience. The top five trade publishing companies offer internships, as do many small and independent publishers. As self-publishing continues to thrive, you can also find opportunities to work with independent authors and online publishing platforms to learn about the publishing process.

Network in person and online

Network with current publishing professionals, as well as peers trying to enter the industry. Communicate with these connections through virtual or in-person meetups to stay abreast of internship opportunities, helpful tips, and new trends affecting your field.

Use these valuable resources to begin networking and taking the next steps in your publishing career:

  • Association of American Publishers (AAP). This association supports publishers on matters of law and policy, and it advocates for creative expression in the industry.
  • American Booksellers Association (ABA). Founded in 1900, this nonprofit supports independent bookstores with educational programming, business services, and local advocacy efforts.
  • Association of University Presses (AUP). This association provides educational, networking, and research opportunities for 155 academic presses.
  • Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA). The EFA connects editors, writers, publishers, and proofreaders and provides them with educational resources for excelling in their careers.
  • Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). This association aims to provide independent publishers with access to the tools, education, and knowledge they need to succeed in a competitive industry.
  • Publishing Professionals Network (PPN). This nonprofit organization provides educational resources to anyone interested in building a career in book publishing.
  • Young to Publishing Group (YPG). This group, part of the AAP, gives entry-level publishing employees a community of peers to connect with and learn from.

Trends for the future of publishing

The publishing industry is ever-changing as consumer interests evolve, publishing companies merge, and new technologies revolutionize the publishing process.

The following major trends are currently shaping the future of publishing:

The growth of audiobooks

Audiobooks are booming, even overtaking e-books in sales. According to the Association of American Publishers, downloadable audio sales increased 22% from 2018 to 2019, driving $577 million in sales. Like streaming music and podcasts, which are also growing in popularity, audiobooks can be accessed easily across devices and listened to on the go.

The increase in independent bookstores

As bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble and Borders continue to close, independent bookstores are popping up to fill the gap and offer in-person retail experiences for book buyers. These mom-and-pop shops can forge more personal connections with consumers and provide more curated experiences. Publishers should embrace opportunities to build relationships with independent bookstores to learn about their buyers and get books on their shelves.

The self-publishing boom

Self-publishing will continue to grow as authors seek to bypass go-between publishing companies and sell their work on their own terms. This will likely drive an increased need for freelance publishing professionals, such as editors, designers, and marketers, who can work with self-published authors on a contract basis. However, industry insiders predict that the top five publishing companies will start using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform to release books on their backlists and generate revenue.

New strategies and tools for digital marketing

Today’s book publishers and authors can go beyond just launching ads and hosting book signings to promote their new works. They can use the internet to build websites, blogs, and social media campaigns, reaching audiences across the world without breaking the bank. Specifically, marketers and self-published authors can consider these growing channels to spread the work about their books:

  • Viewership has increased 99% since 2019, with platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook driving the most engagement. Authors can use livestreams to host real-time book readings, Q&As, and contests.
  • Over half the U.S. population has listened to podcasts and audiobooks, and that number is likely to grow. Authors can launch their own podcasts, join podcasts as guests or interviewees, or place ads in relevant podcasts, such as those of book reviewers.
  • Email newsletters. Statista projects 3 billion people will be email users by 2023 — up from 3.9 billion in 2019. Authors can use this channel to distribute electronic newsletters with exclusive content, book previews, and special offers for loyal readers.

Build a career in the publishing industry

There’s no one way to build a career in the publishing industry. Students and professionals interested in publishing can choose from a range of fields, from editing and design to marketing and book buying. Just be sure to build your knowledge and experience in your chosen area and stay on top of new trends. As technologies and audience interests evolve, the publishing industry will continue to change and, as a result, offer exciting career opportunities.

The outline lists Book Packager, but we couldn’t find salary information for that field, so we replaced it with Publisher.

The outline calls for Book Seller, which is the person-to-person retail end (and which usually doesn’t require a BA); we replaced it with Book Buyer, which is more connected to publishers.


The Effects of Spatial Computing




Computer-generated reality is having a growing impact on our lives each year through the use of augmented reality and virtual reality, which are examples of spatial computing. The technology is relatively small, such as the AR/MR smart glasses with OE Z-Lens, Apple Vision Pro, and Meta Quest 2, but they provide great opportunities for users to interface in 3D with near-to-eye display technology. 

From gaming to education, spatial computing improves the way we experience the world around us. The use of this technology means business calls can be made holographically from anywhere in the world, games are able to be accessed through the metaverse, education can become more hands-on, and healthcare is able to be further catered to people’s unique needs. And there is still much more to come! 

In the current state of spatial computing, near-to-eye displays are replacing various phone functions other than calling.This is mainly being done through AR glasses, which use reflective waveguides to project images toward the eye and offer benefits like extended battery life, better brightness, and a greater field of view. Spatial computing is having significant effects on how we work and play, with new advancements expected to create more changes in the near future.

Spatial Computing: The Future of Work and Play
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Cybersecurity Solutions to Implement in 2024 




Black computer screen with green numbers

As we embrace the digital future, the cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace. With new threats emerging every day, businesses must stay ahead of the game by implementing robust and efficient cybersecurity solutions.

As we peek into the horizon of 2024, here are some top-notch strategies that every business should consider to maintain a secure and resilient digital infrastructure.

Invest in a Comprehensive Threat Detection System

The first step to take is to invest in threat detection technologies that can quickly identify suspicious activities. This should include malware and ransomware protection, application vulnerability scanning, and regular patching. Additionally, consider deploying an intrusion prevention system (IPS) to combat more sophisticated threats like zero-day attacks.

Train Employees in Cybersecurity Best Practices

No matter how good your technical solutions are, they will be rendered useless if employees fail to adhere to best practices. Make sure that everyone in the organization is aware of the risks and knows what steps to take when handling sensitive information. Additionally, creates a culture of security by incentivizing staff to follow cybersecurity protocols.

Utilize Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to store and manage data. Not only does it provide flexibility and scalability, but you can also take advantage of advanced security features like encryption, access control, and multi-factor authentication.

Furthermore, cloud providers are always on the lookout for new threats and have a team of security professionals on hand to respond quickly if something goes wrong.

Implement Automated Network Monitoring and Logging

Automation can be a great help when it comes to network monitoring and logging. By setting up automated processes, you can ensure that all logs are automatically collected and analyzed in real-time.

This will allow you to quickly identify any suspicious activities and take corrective action. Additionally, consider using machine learning algorithms to detect anomalies that may not be detected by traditional methods.

Use Password Management Tools

One of the most basic steps to take when it comes to cybersecurity is implementing strong passwords and changing them regularly.

To make this process easier, you can use password management tools like LastPass or 1Password which let you securely store passwords and access them quickly when needed. Additionally, consider enabling two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security.

Leverage Encryption Technologies

Encryption is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to data protection. By encrypting sensitive information, you can make sure that even if it falls into the wrong hands, it will remain unreadable. There are various encryption technologies available and you should choose one that best fits your needs.

These are just a few strategies that you can implement in 2024 to keep your digital infrastructure secure and resilient. However, the key takeaway here is that cybersecurity is constantly evolving and becoming more complex.

As such, businesses must stay up to date and invest in solutions that are tailored to their specific needs. With the right tools and strategies in place, you can ensure a secure future for your business. 

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How Professional Construction Management Can Make Your Project Better




construction management

Construction projects are complex and require many different skills to work together in order to be successful. By leveraging the expertise of a professional construction manager, your project will benefit from their insight into the industry, knowledge of regulations and codes, experience with suppliers and contractors, and ability to manage budgets. Professional construction management offers a number of benefits that can help ensure your project is completed on-time and within budget. Here are a few,

Guidance on best practices and processes

By taking advantage of their expertise in the industry, they can provide guidance on best practices and processes that will make the most efficient use of resources. They can also offer insight into potential problem areas that could impact the timeline of the project and provide guidance on how to steer clear of them.

They can also help you make sure that all regulations and codes are properly followed. They will have a thorough understanding of applicable laws and requirements, as well as an understanding of local ordinances that must be observed. This ensures compliance with both state and federal regulations, which can save your project from costly delays or fines.

Professional experience working with suppliers and contractors

In addition to their expertise in regulations, professional construction managers also have experience working with suppliers and contractors. This can save time when it comes to selecting a contractor for the job and negotiating prices with potential vendors. By leveraging their knowledge of the industry, they will be able to provide useful information on who has competitive prices and who can deliver on-time.Finally, professional construction management can help manage the financial aspects of the project.

A construction manager will be able to track costs and make sure that all expenses are accounted for. They can provide guidance on which materials or services are necessary and ensure that all bills are paid on time. This helps reduce the risk of unexpected costs or delays due to unpaid bills.

Quick and Efficient

By taking advantage of professional construction management, your project can be completed quickly, efficiently and on-budget. With their expertise in the industry, understanding of regulations and codes, experience with suppliers and contractors, and ability to manage budgets, a professional construction manager can make sure that your project is a success.

Construction projects are expensive endeavors and it’s important to make sure that your money is well spent. By investing in professional construction management, you can ensure that your project is completed on-time and within budget. The expertise of a professional construction manager will be an invaluable asset to you and your company, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of their services.

Your Project deserves the best attention and care

By utilizing the expertise of a professional construction manager, your project will be completed on-time and within budget. Don’t neglect this important step in ensuring success; make sure to hire a trustworthy and experienced construction manager for your next project. Remember that investing in the services of a professional construction management company is an investment in the future of your project.

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