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A Publisher's Yearly Salary

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Publishers are the driving force behind the business of publishing and can find employment heading newspaper, magazine, and book publishing offices. Salaries for publishers vary depending on the size of the publishing company and the type of publishing being conducted. The highest paid publishers can earn near a quarter of a million dollars while the lowest paying jobs can bank a publisher just over $60,000.

Book Publisher's Salaries

Hundreds of thousands of new books are published each year and the publishing companies manufacturing and distributing these titles vary widely in employee numbers and their income level. According to a 2010 survey conducted by Publisher’s Weekly, the average annual salary of a book publisher was $130,000. However, salaries varied depending on the size of the publishing company. If the company earned less than $10 million, the average salary of those surveyed was $98,000. From a $10 million to $99.9 million book publisher, the average salary of a publisher was $134,000, while publishers working for the largest companies made in excess of $276,000.

Magazine Publisher's Salaries

Anyone with desktop publishing software and access to a printer can publish a magazine and you see them everywhere, from the free magazines in physicians' offices to the magazines with the biggest circulation displayed at the grocery store counter check-out lines. According to, the salary for a magazine publisher in 2010 ranged from a low of $61,847 per year to a high of $121,779. Magazine publishers also can earn additional income in bonuses, profit sharing and commission ranging from $30,000 to $120,000. In magazine publishing, according to, the majority of publishers are very experienced with more than 65% having between 10 and 20 years or more of experience.

Newspaper Publisher Salaries

One of the oldest publishing industries is the newspaper business, and publishers in this industry have been portrayed as cigar-smoking gruff men running a tight ship. That stereotype, though, is not too far from the truth. Publisher positions working in the newspaper business, according to, are dominated by men with over 20 years of experience. More than 70 percent of all newspaper publisher positions are held by those with 10 to 20 plus years of experience and 67 percent of those positions are held by men. Salaries of newspaper publishers tend to trend lower. The salary range is between $61,000 and $121,000 per year, and there is little opportunity for additional commissions, bonuses, or profit sharing.

Publisher Job Description

With newspapers, magazines, books, and more, the publishing industry has a diverse range of opportunities for publishers. Publishers really are the driving force for what gets placed on paper but, especially at the largest companies, a publisher may never write a word or see a page of content. Publishers mainly concentrate on the business side of the house, looking at budgetary issues, circulation, advertising, sales, gaining market share, and, of course, profit and loss. At the small publishing houses, a publisher may wear many hats, including editor-and-chief and sales and marketing director. Ultimately, the publisher has the final say on what gets published and what does not. Education is not a factor in employment so much as experience, with many publishers working their way up through the industry holding a variety of jobs before reaching their current level of employment.


John Zaphyr is a marketing and sales manager with the Oncology Nursing Society. He has written professionally since1999 and also has editing credits with Friedlander Publishing Group. His articles have appeared in the "Pittsburgh Tribune Review." John earned a master's degree in English education from the University of Pittsburgh.