Book publishing has accelerated as an industry in the last couple of decades with the steady development of computer technology and new publishing techniques like digital information systems and the Internet. According to figures released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), net sales for the entire United States publishing business are estimated to have increased 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 advantages of the trade.
Most of the publishers or the book publishing companies generally manage the advertising and advertising tasks and sub-contract the editorial and production process to little businesses, as book publishers rarely own printing presses and binderies. This trend, known as "book packaging," is gaining momentum as retail book chains and supermarkets have centralized their buying.
Although, the publishing industry is teeming with numerous book publishers, some of the well-recognized names in the business are: McGraw Hills Businesses, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Group, Reed Elsevier, W.W. Norton & Business Inc., Macmillan Publishers Ltd., Longman Publishers USA, Pearson to name a few. These companies publish material on diverse subjects 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 business has been shrouded with controversy as big company houses have purchased or merged a substantial number of important publishing homes and bookstores to create a monopoly in the market. This has resulted in an increased concentration of well-known authors to augment the market share of bestsellers. The growing commercialization in the publishing business has become a matter of concern not only for critics but also for writers in general.