Who Are “The Big Five”? And Why Are They Important?

One of the first things people think when they hear that you want to work in publishing is they assume you aim to be part of “The Big Five.” “The Big Five” as the industry likes to call them are the largest conglomerate of publishing houses in America. They are constantly growing and are pushers of the American book market.

Per an article by titled, “What the Big 5’s Financial Reports Reveal About the State of Traditional Book Publishing” author Thad McIlroy states that:

“In April 2015 Publishers Lunch (firewall) took a stab at calculating the overall U.S. book publishing market share of the big 5ers (using Association of American Publishers data). (With qualifiers) the report listed. That’s over 80% of the U.S. trade publishing pie. Sounds a bit high, but it reveals the swath these companies cut.”

“Penguin Random House    37 %
HarperCollins                     17.5 %
Simon & Schuster              11.7 %
Hachette                                   9 %
Macmillan               (possibly 5 %)”

You can read the rest of his article here.

In the current day, the 5’ers have grown even more as they continue to buy up small publishing houses and combine their markets.  Below is a short overview of who they are and maybe a bouncing place for you to see if they have an office or internship near you!

  • Penguin Random House
    • Info: Has almost 250 imprint and publishing houses
    • Subsidiaries: Random House Publishing Group, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group; Crown Publishing Group; Penguin Group U.S.; Dorling Kindersley; Mass Market Paperbacks, Penguin Group U.S.; Random House Children’s Books; Penguin Young Readers Group, U.S., etc.
      • Random House Offices
        • 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
        • (212) 782-9000
      • Penguin Offices
        • 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
        • (212) 366-2000
      • Dorling Kindersley
        • 345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
        • (646) 674-4000
Penguin Random House Branches
Penguin Random House Branches


  • HarperCollins
    • Info: subsidiary itself, of a larger global company News Corp.
    • Subsidiaries: William Morrow; Avon Books; Broadside Books; Harper Business; HarperCollins Children’s; HarperTeen; Ecco Books; It Books; Newmarket Press; Harper One; Harper Voyager US; Harper Perennial; HarperAcademic and Harper Audio, etc.
    • 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007
    • (212) 207-7000
Harper Collins Publishing House Branches.
Harper Collins Branches


  • Simon and Schuster
    • Info: covers adult, children’s, audiobooks, and digital book publishing
    • Subsidiaries: Atria, Folger Shakespeare Library, Free Press, Gallery Books, Howard Books, Pocket Books, Scribner, Simon & Schuster, Threshold Editions, and Touchstone, etc.
    • 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
    • (212) 698-7000
Simon & Schuster Publishing House branches
Simon & Schuster Branches.


  • Hachette Book Group
    • Info: an off shoot of the 2nd largest book publisher in the world. Hachette Livre.
    • Subsidiaries: Grand Central Publishing; Little, Brown and Company; Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers; Faith Words; Center Street; Orbit; Yen Press; Hachette Audio; and Hachette Digital. Read about Forever, Hachette’s Romance line, and about Forever Yours, their digital-first Romance line, etc.
    • 237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
    • (212) 364-1200
Hachette Books Publishing House
Hachette Branches


  • Macmillian Publishers
    • Info: global trade book publishing company, publishes a lot of college/ academic books
    • Subsidiaries: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Henry Holt and Company; Picador; St. Martin’s Press; Tor/Forge; Macmillan Audio; and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, etc.
    • 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
    • 646-307-5151
Macmillan Publishing House Branches
Macmillan Branches


I know that was a little long! Thanks for sticking with me!

Overall, “The Big Five” are in essence the small 200. There are so many small houses that work under each company that there are always new and growing ways to join in on the industry where ever you are at. Many of the smaller companies are able to focus on non-mainstream projects and independent ideas that help bring the ever-changing market we have today. I hope this has been helpful!

And please don’t forget to send any of your questions and comments in the section below!

Happy Hunting Bookworms!


Kime J. Sims.

I compiled the above information from The Balance Career. Thanks! Link here and here.


Looking for More Information?!

A few other great current articles to read about the 5’ers are: (more on who the Big 5 are) (current state of publishing in 2018) (other offshoots of the growing industry of publishing) (internships with the big 5!) (analysis of the Big five’s impact on the industry)



By kimejsims

A graduate student in book publishing in Boston and aspiring reader of as many books as possible!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.