Who Are The Big Five Publishing Companies in the UK?

Who Are The Big Five Publishing Companies in the UK?

Who Are The Big Five Publishing Companies in the UK?

When you work in publishing you often hear people and trade magazines mention the big five publishing companies. But who exactly are they?

Here are the companies, in the UK, that publishing professionals talk about when discussing The Big Five.


Pan Macmillan is part of the Macmillan Group which operates in 70+ countries. Macmillan publishers are famous all over the world and produce every type of book, across multiple imprints.

Pan Macmillan, more commonly referred to as Pan Mac in the UK, publishes fiction, and non-fiction titles through many of their imprints including Bluebird, Picador, Mantle, Macmillan etc. The Pan Mac author list includes David Baldacchi, Kate Mosse, Joe Wicks, Peter James, C.J. Samson etc.

They do offer work experience placements and you can contact them via this email: panmacworkexperiencerequests@macmillan.co.uk with a request to join a specific area and a specific imprint i.e. Work Experience – Publicity – Pan or Work Experience – Sales – Mantle etc. See their About page for more details.

Simon & Schuster

Simon & Schuster, or S&S, like Pan Mac has many publishing houses around the world, including the US, India, and Canada etc. They publish fiction and non-fiction via three imprints: Simon & Schuster, Scribner, and Simon & Schuster Children’s Books.

The S&S author list includes Rupi Kaur, Alice Hoffman, Philippa Gregory, Jodi Picoult, Carrie Fisher, and Santa Montefiore.

Recently, this publishing house was bought by Bertelsmann, the company that owns Penguin Random House so very soon the Big Five may in fact be becoming the Big Four.

Penguin Random House

Speaking of Bertelsmann, Penguin Random House is likely the most famous of the Big Five publishers worldwide. With its core branding that is recognisable to most, PRH is an extremely large publisher

Technically an amalgamation of Penguin Books and Random House – the publishers combined in 2013 – they are owned by Bertelsmann and operate worldwide.

The nine UK imprints of PRH are Cornerstone, Michael Joseph, Transworld, Penguin General, Penguin Press, Ebury, Vintage, Penguin Random House Children’s, and Penguin Random House Audio.

Authors on their lists include Margaret Atwood, Yaa Gyasi, Ken Follet, Lisa Gardner, Shari Lapena, and Marian Keyes… the list could go on and on.


HarperCollins is the second largest consumer book publisher in the world. The UK division of HarperCollins is a large part of that.

HarperCollins is an amalgamation of Harper & Row and Collins Publishing; in 1989 Rupert Murdoch bought both and they were combined to make the HarperCollins we know today.

Imprints of HarperCollins UK include Avon, 4th Estate, HQ, Borough Press, HarperFiction, Collins, Harper Children’s, William the Fourth, Farshore (previous Egmont), HarperNorth, Harper Voyager, Harper360, HarperIreland, Harper Non-Fiction, Mills and Boon, One More Chapter,  among others.

Authors on the HarperCollins UK list include Bernard Cornwell, George R.R. Martin,  Hilary Mantel, C.L. Taylor, BOSH, David Walliams, Cecelia Ahern, Lindsey Kelk, and many more. The estates published by HarperCollins include Agatha Christie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Judith Keer, P.L. Travers, and many more.


Hachette is made up of ten autonomous publishing divisions and over fifty imprints. It is owned by Hachette Livre, the second-largest publishing consumer publisher in the world – behind Penguin Random House – with publishing companies in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and India.

The divisions include Little Brown, Headline, Hodder and Stoughton, Hodder Education Group, Orion, Octopus, Bookouture, Quercus, and Hachette Children’s Group. Imprints in each division include Hodder Studio, Virago, Sphere, Jessica Kingsley Publishing, Trapeze, Summersdale, Piatkus, Coronet, Hodder Education, John Murray Press, and many more.

Authors on Hachette UK’s list include Neil Gaiman, Maggie O’Farrell, Jill Mansell, Jane Harper, Jenny Colgan, Stephen King, Beth O’Leary, and Peter May. They also publish the Enid Blyton estate.

These are the Big Five publishing companies in the UK. There are plenty of other well-known publishing companies such as Bloomsbury, Oxford University Press, Canongate, and Faber & Faber.

Love Ellie x

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Who Are The Big Five Publishing Companies in the UK?

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