Although there was a fair amount of deal making among the global book publishing giants last year, those mergers and acquisitions did not have much of an impact on the top of Livres Hebdo/Publishers Weekly’s annual ranking, based on annual revenue, of the world’s largest publishers in 2013. Pearson came in first, with $9.33 billion in revenue, followed by Reed Elsevier, Thomson/Reuters, and Wolters Kluwer. All four educational and professional publishers held the same respective positions on the list in 2012.

Scroll down to see the full rankings.

Random House was the largest publisher of trade books in 2013, and was fifth largest overall (its position also unchanged from 2012). The company benefited from its 53% stake in Penguin and the assumption of full control of Random House Mondadori in late 2012, which was renamed Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial at the end of last year. Together, Penguin Random House and RH’s German publishing group had sales of $3.66 billion in 2013 (with Penguin’s revenues for the last six months of the year reported in the PRH total; revenue for the first six months were attributed to Penguin parent company Pearson). Random House’s agreement with PRISA (ranked #24 on the 2013 list) to acquire the trade book segment of its Santillana Ediciones Generales business will likely be completed this year, meaning that the house will grow again in 2014.

McGraw-Hill Education was also involved in a deal last year: the company was sold to Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm, in spring for $2.4 billion. MHE is now operated through two holding companies—McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings, which houses the higher education, professional, and international operations, and McGraw-Hill School Education Holdings, which operates the elhi and testing businesses. Together, the companies had revenue of $1.99 billion in 2013.

Cengage Learning, a North American educational publisher that has been controlled by private funds for several years, filed for bankruptcy in July 2013 and emerged from Chapter 11 in April 2014 after eliminating $4 billion in debt. Cengage will not release new financial reports until August, but its 2012 revenue put it almost even with MHE.

While the companies that comprised the top 10 publishers stayed relatively intact in 2013, their share of overall revenue generated by the 50 largest publishers slipped in the year. The 10 accounted for 54% of overall revenue in the 2013, down from 55% in 2012. That decline was due, in part, because some of the deals last year, including the creation of Penguin Random House, involved two top 10 companies.

The Other 46
One publisher that did significantly improve its position in the ranking through an acquisition was Groupe Madrigall: its 2012 purchase of fellow French publisher Flammarion bumped the company to #31 last year, up from #47 the prior year. The combination of Flammarion with Madrigall’s Groupe Gallimard resulted in revenue of $574 million in 2012, the most recent figure available for the house (Gallimard’s position in the 2012 ranking was based on 2011 revenue of $329 million). Italian publisher RCS, which previously owned Flammarion, posted revenue of $348 million last year, putting it at #44 in the current ranking, up from #47 in 2012.

One of the most important developments in our 2013 ranking involved Brazilian publishers. Three Brazilian companies were included in the 2012 list, but, due in part to a severe decline of the value of the real—the country’s currency—that year, revenue at those publishers fell relative to that of North American and European firms. Saraiva, for example, reported revenue of 507 million real in 2011, worth about $267 million; in 2012, the company once again posted revenue of 507 million real, but due to the drop in the value of the real over the two-year period that amount was worth only about $230 million at the time, placing it at #57 on the list. The smallest of Brazil’s Big Three, FTD, had 468 million real of revenue in 2013, which, when converted to dollars, wasn’t enough for the company to be included in our ranking.

China had two publishers on the 2013 list and may have more next year if additional information becomes available. With revenue of just under $1.5 billion, China Publishing Group Corp. ranked #14 last year, up from #22 in 2012. China Education and Media Group, formerly Higher Education Press, was #21 in the 2013 ranking, with revenue of $1.15 billion, up from #30 the prior year. Two even larger Chinese companies were not included in the 2013 list, since it was impossible to break out their book publishing sales (which are used to determine the position of each company in the ranking) from revenue generated by their printing operations and other media holdings. China South Publishing & Media Group had total revenue of approximately $2.7 billion last year, while Phoenix Publishing and Media Company had about $2.1 billon in overall sales.

Despite the merger activity that has taken place across the industry over the last several years, there is no indication that the largest houses are looking to expand into new markets. That was the certainly true of Random House, which chose to grow its trade presence rather than moving into the educational or professional fields. HarperCollins is following suit with its decision to buy Harlequin. The two companies reached an agreement this spring, and when that deal is completed, HC, which was #16 in 2013, will have combined worldwide revenue of approximately $2 billion, moving it closer to top-10 territory. Similarly, the just-announced decision by Hachette Book Group, Hachette Livre’s U.S. division, to acquire the publishing imprints of the Perseus Books Group expands HBG in the trade book field rather than moving it into a different segment. 

Rank (2013) Rank (2012) Publishing Company (Group or Division) Country Mother Corporation or Owner Country of Mother Corporation 2013 Revenue in $M 2012 Revenue in $M
1 1 Pearson UK Pearson UK $9,330 $9,158
2 2 Reed Elsevier UK/NL/US Reed Elsevier UK/NL/US $7,288 $5,934
3 3 Thomson-Reuters US The Woodbridge Company Ltd. Canada $5,576 $5,386
4 4 Wolters Kluwer NL Wolters Kluwer NL $4,920 $4,766
5 5 Random House Germany Bertelsmann AG Germany $3,664 $3,328
6 6 Hachette Livre France Lagardère France $2,851 $2,833
7 10 Holtzbrinck Germany Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck Germany $2,222 $2,220
8 8 Grupo Planeta Spain Grupo Planeta Spain $2,161 $2,597
9 11 Cengage* US Apax Partners et al. US/Canada N/A $1,993
10 7 McGraw-Hill Education US The McGraw-Hill Companies US $1,992 $2,292
11 9 Scholastic US Scholastic US $1,792 $2,148
12 12 Wiley US Wiley US $1,761 $1,783
13 13 De Agostini Editore* Italy Gruppo De Agostini Italy N/A $1,724
14 22 China Publishing Group China (PR) Government; partly publicly listed China (PR) $1,499 $1,104
15 17 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt US Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Group Ltd. US/Cayman Islands $1,379 $1,286
16 19 HarperCollins US News Corporation US $1,369 $1,189
17 16 Springer Science and Business Media Germany EQT and GIC Investors Sweden, Singapore $1,301 $1,298
18 21 Oxford University Press UK Oxford University UK $1,254 $1,125
19 14 Shueisha Japan Hitotsubashi Group Japan $1,191 $1,464
20 20 Informa UK Informa plc UK $1,185 $1,126
21 30 China Education and Media Group (form. Higher Education Press) China (PR) China Education and Media Group China (PR) $1,152 $702
22 15 Kodansha Japan Kodansha Japan $1,143 $1,368
23 29 Egmont Group Denmark/Norway Egmont International Holding A/S Denmark $1,101 $792
24 25 Grupo Santillana Spain PRISA Spain $1,020 $985
25 18 Shogakukan Japan Hitotsubashi Group Japan $1,011 $1,254
26 26 Bonnier Sweden The Bonnier Group Sweden $976 $968
27 24 Kadokawa Publishing Japan Kadokawa Holdings Inc. Japan $900 $1,000
28 28 Simon & Schuster US CBS US $809 $790
29 32 Klett Germany Klett Gruppe Germany $622 $604
30 31 Woongjin ThinkBig Korea Woongjin Holding Korea $616 $667
31 47 Groupe Madrigall (Gallimard, Flammarion) France Madrigall France N/A N/A
32 38 Lefebvre-Sarrut France Frojal France $559 $447
33 34 Readers Digest* US RDA Holding Co. US N/A $533
34 36 Messagerie / GeMS Italy Messagerie Italiane Italy $543 $491
35 37 Media Participations France Media Participations Belgium $481 $455
36 35 Mondadori Italy The Mondadori Group Italy $462 $511
37 33 Cornelsen Germany Cornelsen Germany $456 $577
38 43 Cambridge University Press UK Cambridge University Press UK $433 $396
39 41 Perseus* USA Perseus USA N/A $425
40 42 Sanoma Finland Sanoma WSOY Finland $422 $426
41 44 Westermann Verlagsgruppe Germany Medien Union Germany $401 $361
42 40 Harlequin Canada Torstar Corp. Canada $374 $428
43 49 Kyowon Korea Kyowon Korea $353 $322
44 48 RCS Libri Italy RCS Media Group Italy $348 $333
45 55 EKSMO-AST (since 2012: EKSMO) Russia Privately owned Russia $343 $232
46 45 La Martinière Groupe France La Martinière Groupe France $329 $351
47 53 Weka Germany Weka Firmengruppe Germany $316 $258
48 51 Haufe Gruppe Germany Privately owned Germany $315 $291
49 52 OLMA Media Group Russia Privately owned Cyprus $306 $257
50 27 Gakken Japan Gakken Co. Ltd. Japan $297 $937
51 50 Bungeishunju Japan N/A Japan $253 $298
52 54 Shinchosha Japan Privately owned Japan N/A $245
53 57 Editions Atlas France Gruppo De Agostini Italy N/A $230
54 58 Groupe Albin Michel France Groupe Albin Michel France $232 $224
55 39 Abril Educação Brazil Abril group Brazil $216 $203
56 56 Saraiva Brazil Saraiva Brazil $215 $230

*2013 placement estimated based on 2012 revenue