Monday, 5 March 2012

Who Are The Big Six Publishers?

You will often see references to the 'Big Six' in discussions about publishing. Who are the Big Six, and why are they important?  The Big Six are important because they control around 90% of the books published in the United States, and (through their international imprints) a huge proportion of all publishing worldwide. They are:
  • Hachette;
  • HarperCollins;
  • Macmillan;
  • Penguin;
  • Random House and
  • Simon & Schuster
As The Writers Workshop points out, they are all subsidiaries of much larger media corporations, and each publish books under dozens of imprints. Several major Christian publishing houses are actually Big Six subsidiaries.

Within the US, the major Christian publishers participate in the annual Christy Awards. They are:
Abingdon Press
Baker Publishing Group (which publishes under the names Bethany House Publishers and Revell Publishing)
Hatchette Book Group USA (an imprint of Hatchette, one of the Big Six)
Howard Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster, one of the Big Six)
Journey Forth, a division of BJU Press 
Penguin Group USA (a Big Six publisher)
Tate Publishing & Enterprises (subsidy publishing)
Thomas Nelson (an imprint of HarperCollins, a Big Six publisher). Thomas Nelson also have a subsidy publishing imprint, WestBow Press.
WaterbrookMultnomah Publishing Group (an imprint of Random House, one of the Big Six)
Zondervan (an imprint of HarperCollins, a Big Six publisher)

Harlequin Mills & Boon do not participate in the Christy Awards, but publish over 100 Christian romance novels each year through their Love Inspired, Love Inspired Historical, Love Inspired Suspense and Steeple Hill Women's Fiction lines. They have also recently taken over the HeartQuest imprint, which will add another four genre romances per month.

Faithwords, the inspirational imprint of Big Six publisher Hachette, is also not a Christy Awards participant. Hachette publish several big-name Christian non-fiction authors such as Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen, as well as the world’s most famous Latter Day Saint author, Stephenie Meyer. Faithwords also provide distribution services for titles published by Windblown Media, a little-known company founded to publish The Shack.

This is not to say that Christian books are only published by American companies. There are a number of specialist Australasian Christian publishers, including:
HSM (Heart Soul Mind)

Many of these smaller publishers are also members of the Christian Small Publishers Association, a
network of over 100 small Christian publishers in the US and internationally.

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