Based on 2013 revenue, the top publishing companies in the world form a diverse group that includes Pearson, Reed Elsevier, Thomson-Reuters, Wolters Kluwer and Random House. Together, this top five earned approximately $31 billion in 2013. All these publishing companies conduct multiple types of business operations around the world.
Pearson, based in London, England, calls itself the "world's leading learning company." Its major business in the United States is North American Education. With operations in 80 countries around the globe, Pearson employs 40,000 people. In 2013, it led the list of top publishing companies in revenue, earning $9.33 billion.
Reed Elsevier, which has major offices in London, Amsterdam and New York, posted the second most revenue of the top publishing companies for 2013, $7.288 billion. This company specializes in information solutions for government agencies and legal, medical and financial professionals. The company owns the popular legal business LexisNexis. Reed Elsevier is fourth globally -- behind Google, China Mobile and Bloomberg -- in providing digital content.
Thomson-Reuters -- owned by the Woodbridge Company Ltd. and based in Canada -- earned revenue of $5.576 billion in 2013, placing the company third among the top publishing companies. This company publishes content for four major divisions of operations -- financial and risk, intellectual property and science, legal, and tax and accounting.
Wolters Kluwer, with $4.92 billion in revenue, was the fourth-ranked publishing company in the world. Although it is based in the Netherlands, 54 percent of its revenue came from North America. Serving financial, health care, legal and tax professionals, the company has operations in more than 40 countries and employs approximately 19,000 people worldwide.
Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House, owned by Bertelsmann AG, a German-based multimedia corporation, rounds out the top five publishing companies worldwide. The company earned $3.664 billion in 2013 revenue. Penguin Random House is the world's largest trade book publisher in both print and digital forms and employs approximately 12,000 people worldwide. The company's well-known imprints include Doubleday, Alfred A. Knopf and Ballantine Books, among others.
Top publishing companies with corporate headquarters in the United States include McGraw-Hill Education. Owned by the McGraw-Hill Companies, this publisher is ranked 10th based on 2013 revenue, having earned $1.992 billion for the year. Scholastic, with $1.792 billion in 2013 revenue, is 11th and Wiley ranks 12th with revenue of $1.761 billion.
- Publishers Weekly: Global Publishing Leaders 2014: Pearson
- Publishers Weekly: Global Publishing Leaders 2014: Penguin Random
- Publishers Weekly: Global Publishing Leaders 2014: Reed Elsevier
- Publishers Weekly: Global Publishing Leaders 2014: Thomson Reuters
- Publishers Weekly: Global Publishing Leaders 2014: Wolters Kluwer
- Publishers Weekly: The World's 56 Largest Book Publishers, 2014
Vicki A Benge began writing professionally in 1984 as a newspaper reporter. A small-business owner since 1999, Benge has worked as a licensed insurance agent and has more than 20 years experience in income tax preparation for businesses and individuals. Her business and finance articles can be found on the websites of "The Arizona Republic," "Houston Chronicle," The Motley Fool, "San Francisco Chronicle," and Zacks, among others.