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Publishers manage the creation and production of a wide range of print-based media, including books, magazines, newspapers, software and online content.  Decline

They select, assess and critique the content of the work they publish and oversee and authorise design and budgetary decisions. They also organise the scheduling and timelines for printing, reprinting or manufacturing and marketing published content.

They liaise with authors [writers] and editors, designers, illustrators and photographers, and printers and distributors. Publishers also licence their content to overseas publishing companies, and organise and attend the launches of their published products.


ANZSCO ID & Description: 212499: Publishers manage the creation and production of a wide range of print-based media, including books, magazines, newspapers, software and web-based and online content.

Alternative names: Publishing Editor

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A publisher needs:

  • strong oral communication skills and a great command of written language
  • the ability to work to tight deadlines
  • decision making skills
  • the ability to remain calm under pressure
  • project management and organisational skills
  • leadership skills and strategic vision

Book Publisher
(Source: BooknByte)

Duties and tasks

Publishers set the editorial and commercial direction for companies that publish books, newspapers, magazines and digital content. They make decisions about the markets their companies will serve and the type of content they will offer their audience. Publishers work with teams of editors, designers, writers and freelance contributors who create the content and manage its production.

Book publishers set the criteria for the types of books they will commission. In a small publishing house, publishers may concentrate on general fiction or non-fiction. In larger companies, they may focus on more specific categories, such as business textbooks or science fiction. Magazine publishers develop publications that will appeal to both readers and advertisers. A fashion magazine publisher, for example, may decide to focus on high-end fashion aimed at wealthy readers who represent an attractive target market for advertisers of luxury goods. Magazine publisher jobs, for example, obtain revenue from retail sales, subscriptions and advertising. Selling magazines by subscription provides a regular flow of guaranteed income, while revenue from advertising and retail sales may vary with each edition. Book publishers aim to build sales through bookstores and online retailers, libraries, schools and colleges, and book clubs. They may also sell publishing rights to foreign companies who translate books and market them in their own territories.

The publisher definition may also include dealing directly with contributors or oversee editors who liaise with writers, authors, photographers and illustrators. They develop editorial policies that provide editors and contributors with guidance on the style and tone of content they require. A publisher of a sports magazine, for example, may decide to offer readers in-depth analysis of the sport, while a competitor may decide to focus content on popular sports personalities.

To pay contributors for their work, publishers negotiate contracts that set out the financial arrangement. Magazine publishers pay contributors a fee, either when they accept the work or when they publish it. Book publishers offer authors terms that might include an advance on royalties before publication, royalties at different rates depending on volume of sales, and a share of any additional publishing rights. Publishers also negotiate discounts and commercial terms with retailers and other outlets.

Publishers have overall responsibility for content development and production. They may manage teams of editors and designers who review contributions, edit manuscripts and prepare layouts for printed or digital production, according to The Book Stewards. Publishers ensure that the team meets production schedules and releases work to the market on time.

Cost control is an important responsibility for publishers. They must balance revenue with production, distribution and staff costs so that publications or books are profitable. They set budgets for different departments and monitor financial performance to identify opportunities for improving profit by increasing revenue or reducing costs.

Working conditions

Publishers work in offices. They usually work regular hours, but are usually expected to work longer hours when working to deadlines. They may be required to travel nationally or internationally to attend launches, book fairs or conferences, or to meet authors, editors or other publishers. They generally work in cities and large towns.

Tools and technologies

Publishers use computers and specialist software to carry out word processing and document editing and formatting. Depending on their specific role within their organisation, they may also be required to use accounting or budgeting software.

Education and training/entrance requirements

You may be able to work as a publisher without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, you are more likely to improve your employment prospects if you have completed a university degree in communications, media, journalism or a related area.

Most universities in Australia offer relevant courses. Postgraduate qualifications specialising in publishing are also offered by a number of universities.

Did You Know?

Directory of Publishers in Australia

There are 441 Publishers in Australia - most are in the media. There are 48 Book Publishers!



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