U.S. Publishing and the Nice, Healthy 2015 Bounce

IPA data shows that the U.S. publishing market still ranks as the world’s largest market by a wide margin, and revenue was up close to 10% in 2015. 

By far the world’s largest publishing marketing, the United States, saw a nice bounce up in 2015 fiscal year. Total annual publishing revenue for 2015 was just under $25 billion, up 9.02% over 2014, per International Publishers Association data as reported in FIPP. This follows a shrinking of U.S. revenue in 2014, so it’s great to see the market in growth mode again.


The second largest market is China at $10.5 billion last year (down from 2014), followed by German ($5 billion), the UK ($4.15 b) and France ($2.67).

The biggest gainers last year were Sweden (up a stunning 50%), Saudi Arabia (+21%), and Thailand (+9.55%). The largest drops were seen in Switzerland (-35%), Iceland (- 15.1%), and Brazil (-13%).

The data comes from the IPA’s 2015-2016 Annual Report, and represents industry data from 59 national publishing associations in 54 countries, the largest number in the IPA’s 120-year history.

The IPA collects publishing data surrounding six distinct metrics:

  • Number of new titles released
  • Copies sold
  • E-book titles published
  • Publishers’ net revenue (both print & digital)
  • Market value at retail prices
  • Value of educational publishing, a huge share of the publishing industry.

So how is 2016 shaping up for the world’s top publishers? According to the report, “[t]his year’s figures tell a story of relative stability at the top of world publishing, with the top five publishers retaining their rankings from 2015 and comparatively little movement among the other companies in the top 20.”

The report goes much deeper than numbers, providing some important insights into the global efforts to bolster the freedom to publish that we in the U.S. take for granted as our right. It also offers a deep look at the challenges facing publishers today as they straddle the line between technological innovation and copyright protection, and some of the recent rulings that have a wide-ranging impact on publishers in the U.S. and abroad. It’s well worth the time to read it and help gain a broader understanding of our industry and our roles in it.

For the moment though, it’s great to see those numbers climbing for our market here at home.