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There are several types of book publishers, and, although they offer similar services, their approaches and business models may differ widely.

Book publishers can be grouped in a number of ways. Traditional book publishers might be sorted into large publishers, mid-sized publishers, and small publishers, while non-traditional publishers include hybrid publishers, vanity presses, and self-publishing. Another way in which publishers and publishing services can be classified is by commercial publishers, university presses, new university presses, academic-led presses, or library publishers.

Another way to sort publishing companies may include trade book publishers, book packagers and developers, bargain book publishers, academic and textbook publishers, professional publishers, self-publishing services, and hybrid publishers.

Some publishers specialize in publishing non-fiction or fiction, while several focus on one or more genres.

The fiction genres include action and adventure, children's, contemporary, cozy mysteries, dystopian, fantasy, historical fiction, graphic novels, horror, literary, LGBTQ+, magical realism, mystery, new adult, religious fiction, romance, science fiction, short stories, suspense, women's fiction, young adult, and probably some others.

Non-fiction includes art and photographies, autobiographies and memoirs, biographies, children's, education, essays, food and drink, guides, history, humanities and social sciences, humor, parenting and family, religion and spirituality, science and technology, self-help, travel, true crime, and any others that you might want to put there.

Large traditional publishing companies produce most of the titles sold in bookstore chains. These are the ones who are able to provide large advances to authors after signing publishing contracts, as well as royalties on the sales of books. They generally provide more extensive advertising, marketing, and promotion for the titles they publish. However, it can be difficult for new authors to be signed.

Mid-size traditional publishers may be profit-driven or mission-driven, in that many mid-size publishers are supported by larger institutions, such as universities, NGOs, media groups, and professional associations. They are less likely to offer significant advances on royalties for new authors, and royalties are likely to be substantially less than that from a larger publisher.

Small and independent publishers may be good choices for new authors, or those in niche markets who write for specialized audiences. The downside is that their ability to strongly market the books they publish is likely to be limited.

Hybrid publishers occupy the middle ground between traditional and self-publishing. Available services might be described as assisted publishing, partnership publishing, cooperative publishing, or entrepreneurial publishing. The premise is that the publisher and author provide some of the resources needed to bring a book to market. Commonly, the author might be expected to pay the cost of printing, while collecting higher royalties from sales.

Self-publishing became popular through Amazon, which allows authors to self-publish books in Kindle format, with printed books available for sale on demand. Print-on-demand services are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, and others.

Authors with the financial resources can employ the services of a vanity press to have their books published, printed, and placed in the catalogs of book retailers. Authors pay an upfront fee to cover all of the book preparation services as well as the printing costs, and, since vanity presses earn their money from fees charged to authors, there is likely to be no marketing on the part of the publisher unless these costs are included as part of the service. Many vanity presses market their business as self-publishing, but they are not the same.

Commercial publishers are not affiliated with an academic institution, and they employ a for-profit business model.

University presses are attached to a college or university, and they usually receive financial support from the institution. If the press earns money in excess of the operating costs, it will be returned to the university.

Operated like university presses, new university presses often publish open-access books, and are library-led, usually through an academic steering group or editorial board.

Academic-led presses are run by academics but not affiliated with an educational institution. As non-profits, any profits are reinvested into the operations of the press. Like new university presses, they are often devoted to publishing open-access books.

Academic libraries sometimes provide publishing services, producing academic journals or books.

Whatever it's called, publishing companies whose chief focus is on publishing books are appropriate for this category.


@Electronic Literature

Digital Publishing

Literary Agents


Subsidy Publishers



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