VJ Books Blog

Book Collecting 101: A Tour of the Publishing Houses

John of VJ Books provides a tour of the five major English language publishing houses and their various imprints.

There seems to be a lot of interest about book publishing. As you explore your hobby, you wonder what publisher came from where or what book comes from which publisher. Publishing of modern fiction goes back to the early 19th century. In the last several decades most of the books, while there are hundreds and hundreds of publishers, are produced by the Big Six publishers. That was the case until 2012 when two of the major publishers, Penguin Putnam and Random House, merged and are now controlling a lion’s share of publishing in the English language. So let’s start looking at them.

Hachette Book Group Icon

Little, Brown, and Company, an American publisher, was founded in 1837 by Charles Cotton Little and his partner, James Brown. For close to two centuries, they published fiction and nonfiction by many of America’s finest authors. Early lists featured Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson’s poetry, and Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.

The Imprint of Little, Brown was purchased by Time, Inc. in 1968 and was made part of the Time-Warner Book Group when Time and Warner merged to form Time-Warner in 1989. In 2006, the Time-Warner Book Group was sold and added to the French publisher Hachette. Following this, the Little, Brown imprint is used by Hachette US Publishing, Hachette Book Group USA.

In 2011, Little,Brown launched an imprint devoted to suspense publishing, Mulholland Books.  The company received Publisher of the Year Award three times,  On April 1st, 2013, Reagan Arthur became the publisher of Little, Brown.

Hachette either owns or distributes the imprints Disney, Grand Central, Hyperion, Little Brown, Mulholland Books , Orbit, and Warner Books.

Watch this video to find out more about the Big Six publishers.