The State of Publishing

I’m catching up on our issues of Publishers Weekly, and I thought I’d share some info from its September 22 issue, in which PW writes the results of its 2013 Salary Survey (you can find more info here).


Among the statistics…

  • 89% of publishers’ staffs are white/Caucasian, with 3% Asian, 3% Hispanic, 3% mixed race, 1% Black/African-American, and 1% other
  • the pay gap continued, though 74% of the workforce is female: men’s salaries averaged $85K in 2013, and women’s averaged about $60K, up from $56K in 2012
  • the overall pay increase was 2.8%
  • 58% of respondents complained of increased workload, 54% of low salary, and 43% of instability within their company and/or the industry
  • only 21% of respondents reported feeling “very secure” about their jobs (slightly less than in 2006), with 53% feeling “somewhat secure” and 5% feeling “very insecure”
  • while 15% surveyed are “extremely satisfied” with their jobs, 12% are “not too satisfied,” with most in the middle
  • more than half of publishers reported acquiring self-published books in 2013.

PW sent the survey to 7,500 subscribers, and 800 responded.

As the article notes, the lack of diversity and the pay gap is nothing new (though it’s very disheartening to see this in numbers). The increased workloads and low salaries aren’t a huge surprise to us, either; after all, we’ve been there.

At least 70% of publishing professionals are either “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their work, and the article noted that there’s less fear in the industry than there used to be. Interestingly, sales and marketing were among the most optimistic groups, with editorial being less confident about the future.

Visit Publishers Weekly for the full article and more details.

You may also want to check out this article, which covers the diversity problem being addressed further in a PW panel at the offices of Penguin Random House. According to the article: “The panel drew a small but lively audience that, while more diverse than most industry gatherings, inadvertently highlighted one concern among many attendees: the people with the power to address the issue of diversity in the industry are not making it a priority.”

Lee & Low publisher Jason Low noted that “36% of the U.S. population identifies itself as a person of color, while his data showed that about 10% of U.S. children’s books have content targeting minority readers.”

“We all have to get involved in changing this situation,” said PW editorial director Jim Milliot, who moderated the panel. Read more here.