The sale of its Harcourt Education group dropped Reed Elsevier from the top spot to fourth place, making room for Thomson Corp. to claim the title as the world's largest book publisher. Thomson landed in the #1 position even though it sold its Thomson Learning division in the year. The company has also made it clear that it would rather be known as a digital publisher than a print publisher—the majority of its revenue is generated by electronic products and services. Nevertheless, most of the information it provides in a wide variety of professional areas has its roots in books and journals. Revenue for 2007 does not include Reuters; Thomson completed the purchase of Reuters earlier this and is now known as Thomson Reuters.

Pearson remained in second place in 2007 and although it is more of a traditional book publisher than Thomson, it, too, is deriving an increasingly large part of its revenue—more than $1 billion in 2007—from the sale of technology products and services, particularly in the education and assessment markets. It bolstered its position in both those segments with the acquisition of Harcourt's testing and international education groups in a deal that closed in January 2008. Bertelsmann's book operations—Random House and the Direct Group club business—were unaffected by mergers and divestitures in 2007, but that is likely to change this year. The company has acknowledged that it is actively shopping its North America club operations (after acquiring total ownership of Bookspan in 2007), has downsized its presence in China, and is reported to be looking to sell its French club operations. With the sale of its education group, Wolters Kluwer is now focused on the professional market, and held onto its fifth spot among global publishers.

Two new companies debuted among the top 15 publishers last year, thanks to major acquisitions. With the addition of Harcourt's American educational and trade operations, the newly combined Houghton Mifflin Harcourt had 2007 sales of approximately $2.5 billion, ranking it in ninth place. Debuting at #15 is Cengage Learning, which was formed when the private equity firm Apax Partners and OMERS, a Canadian pension fund, bought Thomson Learning. Revenue is for the nine-month period ended March 31, 2008.

Only seven of the 50 largest book publishers in 2007 are headquartered in the U.S. McGraw-Hill Education is the biggest American-based publisher, followed by the privately held Reader's Digest (all of RD's sales are included for fiscal 2007). Like their foreign competitors, most of the American publishers generate a significant amount of revenue from international operations. The smallest American publisher on the list is Marvel Entertainment, whose revenues include books, comics and licensing sales.

Acquisitions and divestitures altered the makeup of the world's largest book publishers in 2007, according to the second annual Livres Hebdo/Publishers Weekly Ranking of the Global Publishing Industry.

Top Publishers of the World ($ in millions)

Rank Publishing Company (Group or Division) Parent Company Parent Country 2007 $ Revenues 2006 $ Revenues
N/A = Not Available.
1 = For first nine months of fiscal 2008.
Note: Figures are based on sales generated in calendar 2007 or—in cases with a fiscal year—from fiscal 2007. Data is from publicly available sources and include sales of books, journals and digital products. Because publishing data was unavailable, Pannini and Disney/Hyperion are excluded from the rankings. The listing was compiled by international publishing consultant Rudiger Wischenbart ( under the aegis of Livres Hebdo.
1 Thomson The Woodbridge Co. Ltd. Canada 7,296.73 6,641.00
2 Pearson Pearson plc UK 7,025.52 7,301.00
3 Bertelsmann Bertelsmann AG Germany 6,412.32 5,995.60
4 Reed Elsevier Reed Elsevier Corp. UK/NL 6,156.82 7,606.30
5 Wolters Kluwer Wolters Kluwer NL 4,982.98 4,800.90
6 Hachette Livre Lagardère France 3,109.80 2,567.50
7 McGraw-Hill Education The McGraw-Hill Cos. US 2,705.38 2,524.00
8 Reader's Digest Reader's Digest US 2,690.78 2,386.00
9 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Education Media and Publishing Group Ltd. US/Cayman Islands 2,500.00 N/A
10 De Agostini Editore Gruppo De Agostini Italy N/A 2,435.28
11 Scholastic Scholastic US 2,179.78 2,283.80
12 Holtzbrinck Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck Germany N/A 1,931.58
13 Grupo Planeta Grupo Planeta Spain 1,460.00 1,319.50
14 Informa Informa plc UK 1,455.04 1,271.14
15 Cengage Learning1 (formerly Thomson Learning) Apax Partners et al. Canada/US 1,413.95 N/A
16 HarperCollins News Corp. US 1,347.14 1,312.00
17 Springer Science and Business Media Cinven and Candover UK/Germany/Italy/France 1,322.76 1,201.20
18 Shogakukan Shogakukan Japan 1,315.19 N/A
19 Kodansha Kodansha Japan 1,291.45 1,180.92
20 Shueisha Shueisha Japan 1,242.46 N/A
21 John Wiley & Sons John Wiley & Sons US 1,235.01 1,044.19
22 Editis Wendel Investissement France 1,110.04 981.50
23 RCS Libri RCS Media Group Italy 1,066.97 937.82
24 Bonnier The Bonnier Group Sweden 975.00 769.56
25 Oxford University Oxford University UK 899.68 786.11
26 Simon & Schuster CBS US 886.22 807.00
27 Grupo Santillana PRISA Spain 817.60 635.44
28 Mondadori (book division) The Mondadori Group Italy 649.70 571.35
29 Kadokawa Publishing Kadokawa Holdings Inc. Japan 631.81 808.60
30 Klett Klett Gruppe Germany 613.20 520.00
31 Gakken Gakken Co. Ltd. Japan 605.00 682.89
32 Gruppo editoriale Mauri Spagnol Messagerie Italiane Italy 541.66 629.20
33 Cornelsen Cornelsen Germany 529.10 451.10
34 WSOY Publishing and Educational Publishing Sanoma WSOY Finland 470.85 401.70
35 Harlequin Torstar Corp. Canada 467.44 407.03
36 Média Participations Media Participations Belgium 440.63 381.16
37 Les Editions Lefebvre-Sarrut Frojal France 432.74 342.29
38 Groupe Gallimard Madrigall France 423.40 309.40
39 Marvel Marvel Entertainment Inc. US 398.34 235.70
40 Langenscheidt Langenscheidt Germany 384.00 338.00
41 Westermann Verlagsgruppe Medien Union (Rheinland-Pflaz Gruppe) Germany 353.17 303.95
42 La Martinière Groupe La Martinière Groupe France 346.02 296.40
43 Kyowon Kyowon Korea 314.06 N/A
44 Higher Education Press Higher Education Press China (PR) N/A 301.65
45 Weltbild Verlagsgruppe Weltbild GmbH Germany 300.18 299.78
46 Bloomsbury Bloomsbury UK 298.28 N/A
47 Weka Weka Firmengruppe Germany 287.18 327.47
48 Shinchosha Japan 280.13 N/A
49 Bungei Japan 279.87 N/A
50 Haufe Gruppe Germany 262.80 239.44

Largest U.S.—based Publishers, 2007

McGraw-Hill Reader's Digest Scholastic HarperCollins John Wiley Simon & Schuster Marvel
$2.7 billion $2.7 billion $2.1 billion $1.3 billion $1.2 billion $886 million $398 million