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There are many different departments in a book publisher, all with different functions.

If youre looking
to get your first job in book publishing, or looking to publish a book and are curious, heres an overview
of the major moving parts of a book publishers organization. Though each book publisher or
publishing imprint is organized slightly differently, these are the most typical departments within the
publisher, and the general duties of each.


The publisher is the acknowledged strategic leader of the house, setting the vision and tone for the
publishing house or imprint and overseeing the entire operation, the publication of a list of titles from
acquisition through sales.

Editorial Department

The book publishers editors perform all the duties necessary to acquire and edit books and see them
through to publication, including dealing with literary agents, authors, and interfacing with the breadth
of the book publishers other staff. Read more about the different positions within the editorial

Contracts Department & Legal Department

As book publishing is a business of intellectual property, the individual authors contracts are a
critical, legal element in the publishing process and, therefore, the contracts department is key, working
with the editors and literary agents to negotiate the terms. In addition, as there are liabilities attached
to writing about many subjectslike celebrity tell-allsand the legal department ensures that the
publishing house is protected against potential lawsuits that might arise from sensitive material.

Managing Editorial and Production

The managing editor and his or her staff are responsible for the workflow of the manuscript and art
from editorial through production. Managing editorial works with both the editors and production to
keep a close eye on the schedule, for not only the finished book product but for advanced materials
such as ARCs that sales or publicity might need in order to generate interest in the books from
booksellers or the media.

Creative Departments

The jacket art department is critical to the book publishing process, as the art director and his or her
staff of designers create the cover that, along with the books title, forms the first, important consumer
impression of the book. In other words, they create the cover by which the book is indeed judged.
Generally speaking, different designers create the book interiors. The promotion art department is
responsible for designing the seasonal publisher catalogs, book marketing campaigns, and other

The various sales departments are, of course, critical to getting books to market and into other formats
and media and are important enough to warrant their own article.

Subsidiary Rights

The "sub rights" department sells the contractual rights to use the content of books in a variety of
forms, from foreign translations to motion pictures. Read about subsidiary rights sales.

Marketing, Promotion, and Advertising

The marketing department is responsible for marketing strategy for the individual books, as well as
coordinating the efforts of the promotion art department, which is generally responsible for the design
and production of marketing materials. The marketing department also works closing with advertising
(either in-house or with an ad agency) to create ads, as dictated by budget and strategy, for individual or
lists of titles.

Social media marketing efforts sometimes fall under title marketing, sometimes in a more general online
marketing department.


The publicity department is responsible for reaching out to the media (print, radio, television, etc.) to
gain exposure for individual titles. For most houses, setting up book signings and book tours also falls to
the publicity department. Outreach to bloggers sometimes falls under publicity, sometimes under

Publisher Website Maintenance

Each publishing house and/or imprint maintains its own website with booklists, author information, etc.
(Other sites maintained for promotional purposes, such as individual author sites generally fall wholly
under marketing," though note that most author websites are developed and maintained by the
author). In addition to book-centric functions, publishing houses share the same sorts of departments as
any large business entity, such as:

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Finance and Accounting

Each book has its own P&L (profit and loss statement), and the finance department monitors this, as
well as expenses, etc.
IT (Information Technology)

In todays offices, the tech guys are indispensable, and it's no different in a publishing house.

Human Resources

The HR department assists with the recruitment and hiring of talent, as well as benefits, and other issues
pertaining to the employees of the publishing house.


2. A book can be broadly defined as a written document of at least 49 text pages that communicates
thoughts, ideas, oral information. Throughout the ages, books have changed dramatically, assuming a
number of different forms. To a great extent, the evolution of the book has followed the expansion of
communication forms and methods and the ever-increasing demand for information.

The first known forms of written documentation were the clay tablet of Mesopotamia and the papyrus
roll of Egypt. Examples of both date back as early as 3000 B.C. Independent of these developments were
Chinese books, made of wood or bamboo strips bound together with cords. These books dated back to
1300 B.C.