Book Publishers Day

By Sharon Schweitzer

Book Publishers Day is an annual celebration to recognize and appreciate the hard work and dedication of book publishers. It is a day to honor those who bring books to life by editing, designing, printing, and distributing them for readers.

It was first celebrated on January 16th, 2020, with events held in different cities across the United States. The inaugural event was organized by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC), with support from First Book, an organization that provides new books and educational resources to children in need.

Did you know, the first printed book was produced in China in the eighth century? The printing press, invented in the 15th century, by Johannes Gutenberg, revolutionized the industry, allowing books to be produced more efficiently and at a lower cost. Before the invention of the printing press, scribes copied works, essentially working as publishers. With a bit of time, the printing press brought a new era of book publishing, where books could be widely distributed at a low cost. The emergence of e-books and online platforms for purchasing and distributing books in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has significantly impacted the publishing industry.

The rise of independent book publishing in recent years has provided an alternative to traditional publishing models. Independent publishers, also known as small or self-publishing presses, are often more focused on niche markets or specific genres and may give authors more control and flexibility. Many independent publishers can provide more personalized services and support to their authors and publish a broader range of voices and perspectives.

There are four major types of book publishers: commercial publishers, self-publishers, vanity presses, and hybrid publishers. Commercial publishers are selective as to what they publish, but accepted authors pay no costs to publish, in exchange for getting the rights to sell their work. Authors receive editing, design, printing, marketing, and distribution services from the publisher, as well as royalties on their sales. With self-publishers, authors have to pay their own pre-publishing expenses, but retain all the rights to their work and receive royalties on sales. Some self-publishing houses offer services like editing and design. Vanity presses portray themselves as traditional publishers, but are similar to self-publishers, except in some cases the author must use some or all of the publisher’s additional services, and the publisher may take some of the rights of the work. Hybrid publishers have a different revenue structure than traditional publishers but are similar otherwise.

There are large and small publishers. The biggest is Penguin Random House, which was created in 2013 with the merger of Penguin and Random House. The other of the “big five” publishing houses are HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan.

The global book publishing sector generates more than $100 billion in yearly sales, accounting for around 15% of the media industry.


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Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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