Book publishing has accelerated as an industry in the last couple of decades with the steady development of computer technologies and new publishing methods like digital information systems and the Internet. According to figures released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), net sales for the whole United States publishing business are estimated to have elevated by 1.3 percent from 2003 to 2004 to a grand total of $23.72 billion. This clearly indicates the publishers or the book publishing businesses are reaping the benefits of the trade.
Most of the publishers or the book publishing companies generally manage the marketing and advertising tasks and sub-contract the editorial and production procedure to small companies, as book publishers seldom personal printing presses and binderies. This trend, known as "book packaging," is gaining momentum as retail book chains and supermarkets have centralized their buying.
Even though, the publishing business is teeming with many book publishers, some of the well-known names in the industry are: McGraw Hills Businesses, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Group, Reed Elsevier, W.W. Norton & Company Inc., Macmillan Publishers Ltd., Longman Publishers USA, Pearson to name a few. These companies publish material on diverse topics ranging from entertainment, fiction, non-fiction, management, art, architecture, photography to day to day problems like cooking, pet care, gardening, and so on.
Recently, Western publishing industry has been shrouded with controversy as large business homes have purchased or merged a significant number of key publishing houses and bookstores to create a monopoly in the market. This has resulted in an elevated concentration of nicely-known authors to augment the marketplace share of bestsellers. The expanding commercialization in the publishing business has become a matter of concern not only for critics but also for writers in general.