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The Book Publishing Industry Takes Books from Writer to Reader


From manuscript submission to the many types of editing; from book production to bookstore shelves and/or digital downloads; from trade shows to Pulitzer Prizes and everything in between: Read about what keeps the pages of the book publishing industry turning.
  1. Book Publishing History
  2. Book Publishing Industry Basics
  3. Book Acquisition and Editing
  4. Book Art and Production
  5. Book Industry Events
  6. Bookselling & Booksellers
  7. Children's Books
  1. Cookbooks
  2. Romance - The Business of Passion
  3. Mystery - Making Crime (Books) Pay
  4. Sci Fi & Fantasy - Imagining New Worlds
  5. Audiobooks
  6. Libraries

Book Publishing History

The history of books – printed pages of text bound between two covers – spans about two thousand years. In that time, these amazing objects--from papyrus codices to penny dreadfuls to paperbacks to ebooks – helped stimulate the growth of civilization and foster the spread of knowledge. Read about the modest device that has provided humankind with untold hours of enlightenment and entertainment, instruction and armchair adventure: the book.

Book Publishing Industry Basics

BookExpo America 2011 Show Floor

In between writers and readers there are editors, publishers, designers, printers, ebook coders, warehouses, booksellers and many, many more professionals. And while most of those pros (yes, most) do in fact love the written word, book publishing is very much a business. Here are some of the basics.

Book Acquisition and Editing

hand with pen signing book contract

From manuscript or book proposal to literary agent to book editor — learn how books are bought —that is, "acquired"—by a traditional publishing house, and what happens to the book in the hands of an editor.

Book Art and Production

BLAD - a book sales tool

At best, the physical book is an object of a reader's lust, irresistible to the consumer. At a minimum, the book's design and layout should serve the story by making it readable and navigable. Whether creating a printed book or an ebook, design and production are integral book publisher departments, helping to optimize the reader's experience of the text.

Book Industry Events

Former President Bill Clinton speaks at BookExpo America (BEA)

Trade shows and expos and public book fairs — all are opportunities to showcase books and authors. Here's a list of major book-centric events.

Bookselling & Booksellers

Interior bookshelves at City Light Bookstore in San Francisco

From independent "bricks and mortar" bookstores and large bookselling chains to Big Box discounters and online and e-book retailers, there are lots of different places from which to buy or download a book. Whether you're an author, or are looking to break into book publishing, or want to become a bookseller yourself, it pays to know a bit about how book retailers operate.

Children's Books

Most professionals in the book publishing world have a love of the written word that began when they were children. But cracking the children's publishing industry isn't as simple as the vocabulary in those primers. If you aspire to work with children's books in any capacity, you need to learn the ABCs of the genre.


Julia Child, The French Chef

It might be a highly personal collection of family recipes, a "community"-assembled book meant for fund-raising, a workaday tome for the busy cook, or gloriously photographed manifestation of a star chef's vision. Whatever the form, a cookbook presents unique challenges to the author, the editor, and the publisher. Read about the business of cookbook publishing.

Romance - The Business of Passion

Book with heart-shaped pages

Writers, editors, agents, readers, booksellers, librarians: romance book supporters are among the most passionate in book publishing. Read about what the book industry loves about the romance genre.

Mystery - Making Crime (Books) Pay

The Edgar Award statue, coveted by mystery writers

What is a mystery novel? Find clues in books from Edgar Allen Poe or follow the trail to Nancy Drew: there is lots of evidence that mystery is a bestselling book genre. Read about the business of making crime (books) pay.

Sci Fi & Fantasy - Imagining New Worlds

science fiction magazine

Time travel, colonies in space, worlds under the sea... or superheroes, fairies, and vampires, science fiction and fantasy novels imagine their characters in worlds unknown to us—at least at the present. Learn more about the Science Fiction, Fantasy and other "speculative" fiction genres.


Audiobook listenings

Audiobooks are book content in a recorded form. Frequently celebrity-narrated, audiobooks give a different kind of life to the text of a book. Learn the history and current-day facts about the $1+ billion audiobook industry.


Patron in a library with lots of books

Libraries have traditionally been repositories of information in the form of books--some for lending and entertainment, others for learning and reference. While the functions of modern libraries are much the same as they've always been, the formats of their materials now run the gamut of media--from books to music to films to online databases--and librarians don't "Shush!" today as much as they help patrons negotiate databases and new technologies in reference publishing.

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