October 9, 2023
What better time to curl up with a book in front of the fireplace than October. There's something about the crisp fall air that calls to us to take a moment and read. So it should come as no surprise that October is National Book Month, a celebration of reading, writing and literature that started in 2003. It is also a month to celebrate books and authors.
Publishers are an important link as well. Book publishers have weathered the changes brough on by ebooks, changing tastes of consumers and competition from digital sources such as social media and streaming television content to remain a strong sector.
Retail shareholders interested in investing in publishers have a few options, though following the ownership of publishing houses is a bit like watching a game of checkers as companies leapfrog from public to private (to public again in some cases).
Of the big five publishing houses, which includes Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, only HarperCollins and Hachette are publicly traded, though not under their names.
HarperCollins is owned by News Corporation (Tii:NWSA)
The company's name is derived from a combination of the firm’s predecessors. Harper & Brothers was founded in 1817 and merged with Row, Peterson & Company in 1962 to form Harper & Row, which was acquired by NewsCorp in 1987. The Scottish publishing company, William Collins, Sons, founded in 1819, was acquired by NewsCorp in 1989 and merged with Harper & Row to form HarperCollins. The logo for the company combines the fire from Harper's torch and the water from Collins' fountain. HarperCollins has publishing groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, India, and China. The company publishes different imprints, including former independent publishing houses and new imprints.
Hachette Book Group is owned by Lagardère (Tii:MMB)
Lagardère is an international group with operations in over 40 countries. It is headquartered in Paris. The group was created in 1992 as Matra, Hachette & Lagardère, Lagardère is focused on two priority divisions: Lagardère Publishing and Lagardère Travel Retail. Its book and electronic publishing division, Lagardère Publishing, includes the major imprint, Hachette Livre.
Elesiver is part of the RELX Group (Tii:RELX)
Elsevier is a Dutch academic publishing company that specializes scientific, technical, and medical content. Its products include journals such as “The Lancet.” Elsevier's products and services include digital tools for data management, instruction, research analytics, and assessment. Elsevier is part of the RELX Group, known until 2015 as Reed Elsevier, a publicly-traded company. In 2022, Elsevier published more than 600,000 articles annually in over 2,800 journals and as of 2018 its archives contained over 17 million documents and 40,000 e-books, with more than 1 billion annual downloads.
Pearson is one of the largest book publishing company in the world, Headquartered in the U.K., Pearson is active in consumer publishing, education content, and business information markets. It was founded as a construction business in the 1840s but switched to publishing in the 1920s. It is the largest education company, and it was once the largest book publisher in the world
Scholastic Corporation is a publishing company that markets children’s books, magazines, and teaching materials. The company operates through three divisions: Children’s Book Publishing and Distribution, Educational, and International.
Springer Nature (Tii:SPGG)
Springer Nature AG & Co. operates as a research, educational, and professional publisher worldwide. It offers journals, books, and databases primarily to academic and government institutions, corporate customers, and individuals. The company was founded in 1842 and is headquartered in Berlin, Germany.
John Wiley & Sons (Tii:WLY)
John Wiley & Sons is a publishing company with a focus on the professional and scientific community. Its products include research journals (scientific, technical, medical and scholarly), reference books, manuals, databases, scientific and education books, test preparation services, and more. The company also offers services such as development and assessment services for businesses and services for higher education institutions. John Wiley & Sons was founded in 1807.
Other publishers were public but have since gone private. Simon & Schuster was acquired by private equity firm KKR who recently bought the brand from Paramount Global. Simon & Schuster will become a private stand-alone company when the deal is finalized. The deal concludes a years-long effort by Paramount to sell Simon & Schuster. McGraw Hill Education is formerly a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. McGraw-Hill Education was divested and acquired by Apollo Global Management in March 2013 for $2.4 billion. McGraw-Hill was then sold in 2021 to Platinum Equity for $4.5 billion.
Whether you like reading a book for fun, or as a retail shareholder are interested in investing in one of the many publishing companies above, take some time to celebrate National Book Month.
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