The British publishing industry has a rich and illustrious history, from the early days of printing presses to the modern digital age.
UK-based publishers have brought us some of the most beloved and enduring works of literature, from Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations” to J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best British publishing companies operating today. These companies represent the cream of the crop in terms of quality, reputation, and innovation in the publishing world. Whether you’re a first-time writer looking to break into the industry or an established author seeking a new publishing partner, this list is a great place to start. After reading this guide, you can also check my full database of over 3,000 publishing companies.
Here are the best book publishers in the UK:
Hachette Livre is a major publishing company based in London, part of a large publishing organization that operates worldwide. The UK division has a long history of publishing high-quality books across all genres. It is home to many bestselling writers, including James Patterson, J. K. Rowling, and Stephen King. Focusing strongly on innovation and digital publishing, the company is at the forefront of the publishing business and continues to be a major player in the global book market. Submission guidelines.
Penguin Random House UK is one of the largest and most successful publishing companies in the UK, with origins dating back to the early 20th century. The company is home to many legendary authors, such as George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Margaret Atwood, and Roald Dahl, as well as many modern bestselling writers. By focusing on digital publishing and innovative marketing strategies, Penguin Random House UK remains at the forefront of the industry, continuing to produce some of the most popular and enduring books in the world. Submission guidelines.
HarperCollins UK is one of the largest and most renowned publishing companies in the UK, with origins dating back to William Collins, who established the company in the early 19th century. Over the years, the London-based company published works across a wide range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books, and is known for its commitment to producing high-quality works. The company has published many iconic books and authors, including the works of Agatha Christie, one of the most popular and bestselling authors of all time. Submission guidelines.
Pan Macmillan is a major publishing company that has been producing books for over 170 years. The company has a reputation for publishing high-quality books across a wide range of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. Besides traditional publishing, Pan Macmillan is a leading publisher of ebooks and audiobooks, reflecting its commitment to digital innovation. The company has published many bestselling authors, including Jeffrey Archer, Ken Follett, and Cecelia Ahern. Pan Macmillan is also known for its strong focus on nonfiction, publishing works that educate and inspire readers. Submission guidelines.
Picador Books is a UK-based imprint of Pan Macmillan publishing company that was founded in 1972. The company has a reputation for publishing high-quality literary fiction and non-fiction titles that challenge readers. Picador Books has published works by many of the most important writers of the past century, including Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, and Cormac McCarthy. Besides its literary fiction category, Picador Books also publishes a range of non-fiction books on subjects ranging from politics to science and the arts. Submission guidelines.
Pearson Education is a leading global publishing company that specializes in producing academic books and educational materials. By providing high-quality written resources for students and educators, Pearson Education has established itself as a major player in the academic publishing space. The company has published books across a wide range of disciplines, with a particular emphasis on science and the humanities. Pearson Education’s extensive catalog of academic books covers topics such as literature and philosophy, among others. Submission guidelines.
Bloomsbury Publishing is a leading independent publishing company. By publishing high-quality books across a wide range of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books, Bloomsbury has built a reputation for excellence in the publishing industry. They’re known for a commitment to accepting unsolicited submissions, providing a platform for emerging authors to share their work with a wider audience. Bloomsbury is renowned for its work in narrative nonfiction, with several bestsellers in this genre, including William Dalrymple’s “The Anarchy” and Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens”. Submission guidelines.
Oxford University Press (OUP) is one of the largest and most prestigious academic publishers in the world, with a rich lineage that spans over 400 years. The company is known for its commitment to publishing books of the highest quality across a wide range of disciplines, with a particular emphasis on the humanities and sciences. OUP’s extensive catalog includes books on subjects such as philosophy, law, and economics, as well as cutting-edge research in the sciences. Besides publishing books, Oxford University Press is also involved in the distribution of educational resources, including online learning platforms and educational software. Submission guidelines.
Simon & Schuster is a leading publishing company with a global presence, including a UK branch. The company is renowned for publishing books across a wide range of genres, including fiction and children’s books. The company has published many bestselling authors, including Philippa Gregory, whose historical novels have garnered critical acclaim and a large following. Besides traditional print books, Simon & Schuster is also a leading publisher of ebooks and audiobooks, reflecting its commitment to digital innovation. Submission guidelines.
John Wiley & Sons is a leading academic publishing company with a global presence. The company is known for publishing books and journals that are based on the latest research and ideas, and that interest academics and professionals who want to achieve success in their respective fields. For example, the company has published books on exciting topics such as artificial intelligence, science, business, blockchain, and renewable energy, among others. With a long heritage in academic publishing, John Wiley & Sons remains at the forefront of publishing works that matter. Submission guidelines.
11. Faber & Faber
Faber & Faber is a UK-based independent publishing company with a long and distinguished pedigree. Founded in 1929, the company has a reputation for publishing high-quality books across a wide range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Faber & Faber has helped to shape the literary landscape of Europe, publishing works by some of the most celebrated authors of the 20th century, including T. S. Eliot, Samuel Beckett, and Sylvia Plath, among others. The company has a particular focus on poetry, with a strong commitment to publishing new and established poets from around the world. Submission guidelines.
12. Canongate Books
Canongate Books is an independent publishing company based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Founded in 1973, the company has a reputation for publishing a wide range of books. Canongate Books is committed to publishing works of the highest quality and has been recognized for its innovative approach to publishing, particularly in the areas of digital publishing and audiobooks. As an independent publisher, Canongate Books has the freedom to take risks and publish books that might not be considered by larger, more mainstream, publishing houses and companies. Submission guidelines.
13. Serpent’s Tail
Serpent’s Tail is an independent publishing company that was founded in 1986. The company has a reputation for publishing books that are edgy, provocative, and often controversial. Besides its main Serpent’s Tail imprint, the company has several other imprints, including Profile Books and Viper Books. Serpent’s Tail has a long history of publishing groundbreaking works by new and established writers and is known for taking risks on books that other publishers might overlook. Submission guidelines.
Granta Publications is a publishing company that was founded in 1889. The company has a reputation for publishing some of the most memorable literary works of the past century and is known for its commitment to quality writing and innovative publishing practices. Granta Publications has published works by some of the most important writers of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis, and Margaret Atwood. Besides its literary fiction titles, Granta Publications also releases a range of non-fiction books on subjects ranging from history and politics to science and travel. Submission guidelines.
Founded in 2012, it’s among independent publishers that focuses on publishing literary fiction and short story collections. The company has gained critical acclaim for its publication of short story collections, including collections by authors such as Eley Williams and Alex Pheby. With a commitment to publishing bold and challenging literature, the company continues to be a leading voice in the UK literary scene, bringing important new voices and captivating short stories to literature lovers. Submission guidelines.
16. Hodder Education
Hodder Education is a publisher that specializes in educational materials and resources for schools and colleges. The company is known for its innovative and high-quality educational resources, which cover a wide range of subjects, including science, mathematics, languages, and humanities. The company has a long history of publishing educational materials and is known for its commitment to providing teachers and students with the best possible resources for learning. Submission guidelines.
Jo Fletcher Books is a publishing imprint that focuses on publishing fantasy, horror, and romance novels. Founded in 2011, Jo Fletcher Books is one of the imprints of Hachette, one of the UK’s leading publishers. The imprint is known for its eclectic range of titles, from dark and haunting horror novels to sweeping epic fantasies and steamy romance novels. By committing itself to quality and innovation, Jo Fletcher Books has become a leading voice in the fantasy and romance genres and continues to release exciting and engaging titles under its various imprints. Submission guidelines.
18. Canelo Books
Canelo Books is among the indie publishers that emphasize publishing eBooks across a wide range of genres, including crime, thriller, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and more. The company was founded in 2015, based on the idea of providing customers with high-quality eBooks at affordable prices. With a focus on innovation and fresh ideas, Canelo Books has quickly become one of the UK’s leading eBook publishers, offering literature aficionados a diverse and exciting range of titles. Submission guidelines.
This company prioritizes publishing high-quality crime fiction and thrillers. The company was founded in 2003 to release books that explore the intricacies of daily life. Bitter Lemon Press is committed to publishing works that challenge perceptions of the world and offer a unique perspective on contemporary society. By centering on writing and storytelling, Bitter Lemon Press has built a reputation for publishing some of the most gripping and thought-provoking crime fiction and thrillers in the market. Submission guidelines.
Tilted Axis Press is an independent book publisher that is dedicated to publishing works from underrepresented voices and bringing diverse perspectives to readers. The company was founded in 2015 and serves as a platform for writers and translators from Asia and African regions to showcase their works to a wider audience. They publish experimental and innovative works that push the boundaries of traditional storytelling. By aiming to promote diversity and inclusivity in the literary world, Tilted Axis Press has become one of the most respected and influential book publishers in the UK. Submission guidelines.
21. Black Dog Press
Black Dog specializes in producing high-quality picture books and art books for readers of all ages. The company is known for its visually stunning publications that feature the work of some of the most talented artists and illustrators. They’re all about promoting the craft of illustration and storytelling, and their publications engage audiences’ imaginations and inspire their creativity. The company publishes a wide range of books, so if you have a creative picture book, you might try them. Submission guidelines.
22. Korero Press
Korero Press is an independent book publisher based in London, UK. They specialize in non-fiction books on popular culture, including film, music, and fashion. They have a reputation for publishing high-quality, visually stunning books, and graphic novels devoted to niche topics and underground scenes. Korero Press accepts unsolicited submissions and actively seeks new and emerging talent. Their books are sold internationally and are available in both print and ebook formats. Submission guidelines.
23. Titan Books
Titan Books is a British publishing company specializing in graphic novels, comics, and popular culture books. They publish a wide range of titles, from comics to illustrated books on film, TV, and video games. Centering on science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres, Titan Books has become a leading publisher in these areas. They have published illustrated novels by established creators and up-and-coming talent, and their books are renowned for their high-quality production values. Submission guidelines.
24. Carcanet Press
Carcanet Press is a Scottish publishing house that specializes in publishing contemporary poetry and literary fiction. Founded in 1969 by Michael Schmidt, Carcanet has since grown to become a leading publisher of poetry and literary criticism in the UK. Besides publishing poetry, Carcanet also publishes literary fiction, memoirs, and translations from a wide range of sources. The company is known for its commitment to publishing emerging poets and established writers, and for its dedication to promoting poetry as an art form. Submission guidelines.
Hammersmith Books is one of the prominent publishing houses in the UK that specializes in producing high-quality physical books on a variety of topics. They publish in many genres, including fiction, non-fiction, and educational books. Founded in 2012, the company has quickly established itself as a leading publisher of health and well-being materials, focusing on mental health. They are committed to producing physical books, that promote physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing. Hammersmith Books is a great choice for readers who prefer the tactile experience of reading a physical book. Submission guidelines.
British Book Publishing Companies – FAQ:
What are the big five publishers in the UK?
The big five publishers in the UK are Penguin Random House, Hachette Livre, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, and Simon & Schuster.
Who is the biggest publisher in the UK?
The biggest publisher in the UK is Penguin Random House, which is a part of the global publishing conglomerate, Bertelsmann.
Who are the top best-selling British authors?
The top best-selling British authors of all time include Agatha Christie, J. K. Rowling, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, William Shakespeare, George Orwell, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and J. R. R. Tolkien.
Is self-publishing worth it in the UK?
Yes, self-publishing can be worth it for certain authors and genres. It allows you to have full control over your work, including editing, cover design, and marketing. Self-publishing can also offer higher royalties than traditional publishing, which can be attractive. However, self-publishing requires a lot of work and investment from the author, including the cost of hiring editors, cover designers, and marketing services. Success with self-publishing also largely depends on the author’s ability to market their work and build a readership.
How do I get my book published in the UK?
Getting a book published typically involves finding a literary agent or submitting directly to publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. It’s important to research and follow submission guidelines carefully and be prepared to receive rejections. Self-publishing is also an option but requires more investment and marketing effort from the author.
Do you need a literary agent to get published in the UK?
No, having an agent is not always necessary to get published in the UK. Some publishing houses accept unsolicited manuscripts directly from authors. However, working with an agent can increase the chances of getting published, as they can provide valuable knowledge, negotiate contracts, and help with manuscript editing and submission. It ultimately depends on the individual author’s preference and circumstances.
In conclusion, the UK publishing industry is a thriving and diverse landscape, with many reputable companies that are accepting submissions from authors. From the large and established publishing houses to the smaller independent presses, there are many options for authors looking to get their work published. The companies on this list represent the best of the British publishers, and they all have a track record of producing high-quality books across a range of genres. By working with these indie publishers now, you can have confidence in the quality and reputation of their work, knowing that they are in good hands. Whether you’re a new writer looking to make your debut or a seasoned professional, there is a publisher out there that can help you achieve your goals. Next up, you may want to explore a guide on the top publishing companies in Cambridge.
Free online course: Join my 60-minute AI writing course and learn the skills necessary to thrive as a writer in the digital era.
Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time blogger, educator, digital marketer, freelance writer, editor, and content manager with 10+ years of experience. I started RafalReyzer.com to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to become a proficient writer and achieve freedom through online creativity. My site is a one-stop shop for freelance writers, bloggers, publishers, and content enthusiasts who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things. Dive into my journey here, and don't miss out on my free 60-minute AI writing online course.