Since the printing of Gutenberg’s Bible in 1455, publishing has been an important industry disseminating information, opinions, educational materials and entertainment. In 2006 the top 45 major publishing houses accrued roughly $73 billion in revenue. Many of the top publishers specialize in trade books, which are books written for and sold to the general public. All of this information is based on conditions in January, 2011.
Random House is the world’s largest trade-book publisher. A subsidiary of Bertelsmann AG since 1998, Random House was founded in 1925. Through the course of its history, Random House has acquired such popular publishing houses as Alfred A. Knopf, Pantheon and Ballantine Books. It has published more Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning books than any other publisher. With publishing companies in 19 countries around the world, Random House books are available in almost every country.
HarperCollins Publishers, a subsidiary of News Corporation since 1987, is one of the foremost English language publishers in the world. Founded in 1817, HarperCollins originally went by J. and J. Harper and later Harper and Brothers. It was the publishing house for a host of famous American and European authors including Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters. Moving forward into the 21st century, HarperCollins is the first publishing house to digitize its library for use in modern e-books and e-readers.
Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster has been a subsidiary of CBS Corporation since the 2006 split from Viacom, and a leader in general interest publishing. Founded in 1924, they published the first crossword puzzle book, which was a bestseller. Simon & Schuster is currently offering a variety of materials in audio, print and digital format as well as working on apps for the digital readers and smart phones. They publish around 2,000 titles every year.
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., founded in 1996 with the merger of Penguin Books USA and The Putnam Berkley Group, is one of the largest publishers of trade books in the English language in the world. Both groups have a long publishing history; Penguin was established in 1936, and the original incarnation of Wiley & Putnam took place in 1838. Among Penguin’s numerous trademarks and imprints are Viking, Puffin and Gotham Books.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a large publishing house known mostly for its educational material including textbooks, but they also print a variety of children’s and adult fiction and non-fiction trade books. Harcourt was established in 1919 as a publisher of textbooks and merged with Houghton Mifflin in 2007. Today they are one of the United States' leading publishers of textbooks, readers, curriculum and instructional videos and CD-ROMs.