Best Publishing Companies to Work For

Print Friendly

By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid

The book publishing industry is populated by intelligent, hard-working people, many of whom are delighted to have the opportunity to turn their passion – the printed word – into a paying job.

Those working at places like Random House, John Wiley, Oxford University Press and Penguin might be a bit more delighted than their colleagues at other publishers. Those companies topped our informal list of Best Publishing Companies to Work For.

Employees at the best-rated publishing companies like working there because of strong industry brands, good communication between layers of leadership and departments and the learning experiences available.

At Penguin, “people are empowered to do things,” said Paige McInerney, vice president of human resources at Penguin Group USA. “It’s the best place in the world to work. I’ve been here 20 years and there’s a reason for that.”

More on working at Penguin at Digital Book World tomorrow. Other companies on the list contacted for comment did not respond before press time.

The Best Companies to Work For list (below) was generated by Glassdoor.com, a popular employee-reviews website, in partnership with Digital Book World. Each company is assigned an overall rating by its employees who choose to do so on the Glassdoor website. Ratings are on a five-point scale with one being “very dissatisfied” and five being “very satisfied.” Companies with fewer than 10 ratings posted on the site by employees were not considered in the ranking.

There are hundreds of publishing companies in the U.S., many no doubt worthy of distinction as top employers, but, unfortunately, many did not have enough reviews on Glassdoor.com to be included in this piece. Further, there are companies in this ranking that aren’t directly competitive with each other, like Random House and McGraw-Hill, for instance. We included all of these companies on the list because though they may not be competitive in the marketplace, they compete for talent and, as a result, should be viewed side-by-side as employers.

The average ranking for companies on Glassdoor across all industries is 3.0. The average among the publishing companies in our list is 3.08.

Editor’s note: For the top four companies, we provided the name of the company, Glassdoor.com rating, a short company bio and both positive and negative comments about the company from Glassdoor users. For the remainder of the companies, we provided the same but not the company bio. The comments are from anonymous reviewers from the Glassdoor website and their comments should be taken with the appropriate caution. In some limited cases, the words of the reviews have been edited slightly for spelling.

Glassdoor.com and Digital Book World ranking of Best Publishing Companies to Work For.

Best Publishing Companies to Work For:

1. Random House

Glassdoor rating: 3.9

Bio: Founded in 1925, New York-based Random House is today considered the world’s largest trade publisher. The walls of its midtown Manhattan headquarters are lined with books by the legendary authors, like James Joyce and Philip Roth, that helped build the publishing giant. Random House is owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG.

Sample positive employee review: “There is a positive exchange of ideas between editors, sales, and creative teams. If you are interested in the book industry and being a part of where it’s progressing to, very good learning experience working there.” – Random House Employee (location not available)

Sample negative employee review: “As is true in most publishing houses these days, the hours are long and there’s a changing, uncertain environment as the future of books and publishing turns more and more to digital publishing.” – Random House Employee (location not available)

Related: Working at a Big-Six Publisher

 

2. John Wiley & Sons

Glassdoor rating: 3.6

Bio: Professional and academic publisher John Wiley & Sons, based in Hoboken, NJ, traces its roots back to a printing shop founded in 1807 by Charles Wiley. In its long history, the company – and those it has acquired over the years – has published the works of over 450 Nobel laureates.

Sample positive employee review: “Great place to learn from the ground up; great sales meetings in fun locations; invested in developing talented employees; and, corporate environment but not overly hierarchical,” – John Wiley & Sons Employee (New York, NY)

Sample negative employee review: “There are no clear guidelines for advancement, and after several years of flawless performance reviews I have received no opportunities to advance. Everything is very bureaucratic – you get the impression the company is run by automatons.” – John Wiley & Sons Employee (Hoboken, NJ)

 

(tied) 3. Oxford University Press USA

Glassdoor rating 3.3

Bio: Since the mid-15th century, Oxford University Press has been churning out scholarly work. The company claims to be the oldest, continuously operating university press. OUP USA, its U.S. arm, was opened in 1896. With all of its worldwide OUP arms, Oxford University Press claims to be larger than all American university publishing houses and Cambridge University Press combined.

Sample positive employee review: “Room for growth, developing as a company, strong position in the industry – respected brand, job security, intelligent coworkers, and generally positive work environment.” – OUP USA Employee (location not available)

Sample negative employee review: “Low pay, but what do you expect from a not-for-profit academic publisher? Also, publishing is a topsy-turvy field right now, but what isn’t?” – OUP USA Assistant Editor (New York, NY)

 

(tied) 3. Penguin Group USA

Glassdoor rating: 3.3

Bio: Penguin Group USA’s current incarnation is the result of a 1996 merger between Penguin Books USA and The Putnam Berkley Group. Readers worldwide are familiar with Penguin through Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys series as well as through authors as diverse as Saul Bellow, Joyce Carol Oates and the Dalai Lama. Based in downtown Manhattan, Penguin Group USA is the U.S. arm of the UK-based Penguin Group. The company is owned by international media company Pearson PLC.

Sample positive employee review: “A good place to get a foot in the door, strong house with great titles, feels like both a big and little company.” – Penguin Group Production Assistant (New York, NY)

Sample negative employee review: “Industry salaries are uniformly low, but entry-level salaries are SO low that we lose talent. Raises generally do not match the cost of living. No bonuses that I know of, except for upper management, and occasional discretionary corporate-wide bonuses ($500-600).” – Penguin Group Employee (New York, NY)

Related: Working at a Big-Six Publisher

 

5. Hachette Book Group

Glassdoor rating: 3.2

Sample positive employee review: “Good benefits package; very central location; a few of the books and authors are interesting; most colleagues are polite, and only a few are obnoxious.” – Hachette Book Group Employee (New York, NY)

Sample negative employee review: “The management can be a little distant. David Young [Hachette chairman and CEO] is great, but generally the folks in the offices are a little inaccessible.” – Hachette Book Group Publicity Assistant (location not available)

Related: Working at a Big-Six Publisher

 

(tied) 6. Cengage Gale

Glassdoor rating: 3.1

Sample positive employee review: “Great vacation time, 401k, salary, benefits, great management. If you work hard you will do good and be able to advance in the company.” – Cengage Gale Employee (location not available)

Sample negative employee review: “Nobody can make a decision! It takes meeting upon meeting to come up with a decision. Want everything and the moon on a product but won’t increase budgets to get them. Not much room for advance in some areas.” – Cengage Gale Editor (Farmington Hills, MI)

 

(tied) 6. McGraw-Hill Education

Glassdoor rating: 3.1

Sample positive employee review: “Great benefits, education opportunities internally, and college reimbursement. Advancement opportunities at corporate offices.” – McGraw-Hill Education Marketing Coordinator (Desoto, TX)

Sample negative employee review: “Going thru a lot of company reorgs now with the split-off, but it will settle. Professional development offerings could be more robust.” – McGraw-Hill Education Project Manager (Monterey, CA)

 

(tied) 6. Simon & Schuster

Glassdoor rating: 3.1

Sample positive employee review: “A leader in the industry, publishes bestselling books, filled with great people, has a great reputation, opportunities for growth and leadership, recognition.” – Simon & Schuster Employee (New York, NY)

Sample negative employee review: “Many cliques, promotions and raises are based on who you know. Very old staff here, so they are not use to change unless it is forced on them. Which is mostly through technology and not people.” – Simon & Schuster Employee (location not available)

Related: Working at a Big-Six Publisher

 

(tied) 6. Thomson West

Glassdoor rating: 3.1

Sample positive employee review: “Fast-paced, good facility, good people, flexible schedule, ability to spend some time working remotely, many internal opportunities to change and/or advance career.” – Thomson West Lead Software Engineer (Eagan, MN)

Sample negative employee review: “There are many cons with working at Thomson West right now, primarily job security. On the sales side of things there tend to be corporate restructuring and downsizing at least once a year. The comp plans are constantly changed, and not in a positive direction. The general way to motivate employees right now tends to be through fear with very little positive feedback.” – Thomson West Sales Representative (location not available)

 

10. Pearson Education

Glassdoor rating: 3.0

Sample positive employee review: “In my experience, management is totally behind the “family first” concept and respects employees’ ability to balance work and life without requiring time-clock punching. The company also provides lots of personal education opportunities to employees.” – Pearson Education Employee (location not available)

Sample negative employee review: “Politics and complexity of this large organization. The management still retains a command and control approach which stifles innovation. Lots of territorial behavior at most levels.” – Pearson Education Employee (Boston, MA)

 

(tied) 11. HarperCollins

Glassdoor rating: 2.8

Sample positive employee review: “It is a very laid back environment and casual. They really let you have a great life work balance. It is predominately women except for upper management and the finance departments. There are also summer Friday hours.” – HarperCollins Financial Analyst (New York, NY)

Sample negative employee review: “There is a severe disconnect in some departments about the rest of the company; network across departments so you know what’s going on in the rest of the company.” – HarperCollins Publicity (New York, NY)

Related: Working at a Big-Six Publisher

 

(tied) 11. Scholastic

Glassdoor rating: 2.8

Sample positive employee review: “If you are a self-driven worker, Scholastic offers great opportunity for you to get involved in a lot of different areas. People are generally pleasant to work with, although some senior management can be difficult to deal with. Depending on the division, Scholastic has provides a fairly good work / life balance. For women, Scholastic has extremely generous maternity packages. Compensation is in line with the rest of the publishing industry.” – Scholastic Associate Director (New York, NY)

Sample negative employee review: “This company is more siloed than many government organizations which is just shocking considering they are a publicly traded company. Ripe for a takeover by any well-run organization, especially with the publishing industry in the midst of another disruptive technology impacting the bottom line.” – Scholastic Employee (New York, NY)

 

13. MacMillan Publishers

Glassdoor rating: 2.6

Sample positive employee review: “Working in the Flatiron is cool to tell people, and people think it’s a prestigious company and industry (even though people confuse Macmillan with McGraw-Hill all the time and always ask if you work in academic publishing when it’s trade). Free books.” – Macmillan Publishers Sales Assistant (New York, NY)

Sample negative employee review: “Little room for advancement in a company that seems to feel and project that its era is rapidly dying out” – Macmillan Publishers Employee (location n/a)

Related: Working at a Big-Six Publisher

 

14. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Glassdoor rating: 2.2

Sample positive employee review: “Don’t have to punch a clock and it is nice not being micro managed. Managers trust employees to get the work done on time. Employees are hardworking, care about quality and put a lot blood, sweat and tears into their work.” – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Technical Support Specialist (location not available)

Sample negative employee review: “Communication is abysmal, and senior management rules by fear–it doesn’t inspire loyalty or confidence.  The fact that they still have good quality products is due to the dedicated, under-recognized workforce.  Hats off especially to the Dublin tech office.” – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Employee (location not available)

Write to Jeremy Greenfield

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts Found

3 thoughts on “Best Publishing Companies to Work For

  1. Hi I would like to publish a book and need help. I am in south africa. My book could be of help to many people.
    if my email adress is giving a problem you can use these numbers 27727793479
    emelda nkosi

  2. hello i have finished writing a book and would like to get it published i would like to know how much would it cost me to have my book published everything included editing cost publishing cost book covers which i would be delighted with the two book covers that i may be presented by the company with out myself hiring a cover designer from the outside to design any book covers thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>