Even though more and more readers are gravitating towards digital solutions like e-books or audio books and streaming giants like Spotify signing partnership deals with audio book platforms, the print book market is still going strong. Taking a look at the biggest book publishers, it's clear that the most money is made in a comparatively narrow field though.
Out of the eight publishers with the highest revenue in 2019, only two show a diversified lineup of prose, poetry and non-fiction imprints. One is the publishing division of Bertelsmann AG comprised of Penguin Random House and Bertelsmann Education Group with a yearly revenue of roughly four billion U.S. dollars in 2019, the other is French publisher Hachette Livre which made approximately 2.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. The top three spots on the list belong to publishers of scientific, educational and highly specialized trade literature, with the multinational RELX Group taking first place with 5.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 revenue.
Even though the most money is still made with specialized books and journals, general world literacy is still a pressing issue, with the UNESCO hosting International Literacy Day since 1967. In 2019, 83 percent of the female and roughly 90 percent of the male world population showed basic literacy skils according to data by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.