publishing facts and figures


Official Govt data

  • The were an estimated 196,000 UK publishing jobs in 2019, according to data published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
  • The Gross Value Added (GVA) for UK publishing in 2019 was estimated to be £11bn, measured in current prices.
  • Using the metric of chained volume measures, GVA was estimated to have grown by 2.2 per cent year on year in 2019, but have reduced by approximately 10 per cent between 2010 and 2019.
  • The DCMS estimates that in 2019 the value of publishing goods exported from the UK was £2.84bn, and the value of publishing service exports was £1.83bn.
  • The number of publishing jobs was estimated at 196,000 in 2019.
Sources: DCMS Sector Economic Estimates - GVA, December 2020;  DCMS Economic Estimates - Trade, October 2020; DCMS Economic Estimates - Employment, April 2020.



The Publishers Association has different statistics. It estimates that UK publishing generated £6.3bn of sales in 2019, including £3.7bn of exports.

The body estimates that publishing directly employs 29,000 people in the UK and supports more than 70,000 jobs.

The industry’s exports also generate a £1.1bn trade surplus annually, reducing the UK’s trade deficit by 2.2%.

Publishing is a bedrock of the UK creative industries as a whole, with top films, TV shows and plays inspired first and foremost by books.

Each worker in the publishing industry is estimated to produce £112,800 Gross Value Added - or twice the UK average figure.

Sources: Publishers Association website.



By providing the source material for television, film, theatre and musicals, the publishing sector helps to reduce the risk and increase the success of creative productions.

A report for the Publishers Association by Frontier Economics estimates that productions that originated as books generated 44 per cent more in UK film box office revenue (and 53 per cent more globally); 58 per cent higher viewership of ‘high-end’ TV productions; and nearly three times more ticket sales for theatre productions.


Source:   The value of publishing, The Publishers Association, 2018



THE UK has a large magazine publishing market

  • The UK is a leading publisher of newspaper and magazine titles. The UK customer publishing industry is the most developed in the world and is worth over £1bn each year. (1)
  • The UK has launched magazine brands that have gone on to international success including The Economist, OK!, The Week and FHM.

1. Content Marketing Association.


The UK publishing industry has a rich history of innovation

  •  UK publishing companies are at the forefront of the knowledge economy and a driving force in the innovation of digital business models. (1)
  • The UK is a world leader in the development of international standards for the electronic access and delivery of content, bibliographic information and publishing e-commerce. The UK benefits from a strong commitment to freedom of expression and anti-piracy laws, which help ensure that the huge amount of creative content generated is legally protected and enforced.(1)
  • UK newsbrands have large and increasing audiences which are powering growth in digital revenues. The rise of digital technology in recent years has expanded the number of ways for newsbrands to engage with audiences. It is a mainstream habit for a UK press reader to consume news media in print and online, and to follow journalists and news organisations on social media (2)
  • The UK's Publishers Association is a leading force in the battle to suppress international copyright piracy.(1)
  • The Statute of Anne, enacted in 1709, formed the basis of copyright law in the UK. It is now generally recognised as the first legislation to protect the interests of authors and publishers in the Western world and has been regularly updated to take account of technological change and the emergence of new media.(1)
  • The UK was one of the protagonists of the Berne Convention of 1888, which provided the basis for the international protection of intellectual property. (1)
  • Britain's press has a rich heritage and can trace its history back more than 300 years, to the time of William of Orange. Berrow's Worcester Journal, which started life as the Worcester Postman in 1690 and was published regularly from 1709. It is believed to be the oldest surviving English newspaper.(2)
  • UK book publishers have been pioneers in the introduction of environmentally friendly strategies for their businesses, for instance in the use of sustainable paper resources and the reduction of chemically damaging production processes. (1)
  • International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), which are fundamental to all modern bibliographic and publishing e-commerce systems, had their origins in the UK in 1966.(1)
  • In the 19th century, the UK introduced the steam-powered presses which transformed the publishing industry, bringing printed material to a rapidly expanding market.(1)
1. Publishers Association
2. News Media Association.