An Authoritative Look at Book Publishing Startups

January 10th, 2017

NOTE: New version of this report to be published by Publishers Weekly in November, 2022.

At the link below you can download my latest report, An Authoritative Look at Book Publishing Startups In the United States. I collected the data in the report over nearly 5 years. I wrote the analysis in December, 2016, and published in early 2017.

There’s been a void in our understanding of startup activity specific to the book publishing industry. Here is the first quantitative analysis of that activity, specifically in the U.S. It answers questions like:

• How many startups launched in the last decade?
• How many of these are still in business today?
• What is the primary business focus of the startups?
• How much money have they raised?
• How many companies have exited via a merger or acquisition (or in a couple of cases, an IPO)?

At the core of the report is an Excel spreadsheet with nearly 900 companies listed. For each company I uncovered their mission statement (or short product description), market focus, amount of money raised (if disclosed), and current status. Some people will be familiar with the pioneering startup list that Michael Bashkar originated. My list continues and expands on Michael’s effort, with three times as many companies and more detail on each.

I did the work to satisfy my own curiosity and to understand the nature of innovation in the publishing industry — in the absence of visible innovation at the established book publishers, most notably the big five. So where will we find the future of the publishing industry? Among these companies and the others that follow on the startup path.

The report is available for free. Also available is the Excel file where I compiled the base data.

Please let me know if the report is useful to you. And of course any errors or omissions.

Download the PDF report here.

March 19, 2017: I’ve learned that Nina Klein also maintains a startup list, started in 2013. Her list includes about 175 companies, broken into 11 classifications, and includes keywords describing each company.

September 1, 2022: I’ve hired a researcher to help me update that 900+ listings on the spreadsheet, and we’ve added more than 400 startups tracked over the last 5 years. Publishers Weekly will publish the revised and expanded version of the report in November, 2022, and will host the database of companies.