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5 Types of Publishing You Need to Know

Updated: Aug 29, 2021

Find out everything you need to know about 5 different types of publishing and which one you should choose to have your book published.

Writing on a laptop about the different types of publishing
Woman working on a laptop

For born writers, writing 200-300 pages long manuscripts comes naturally. Writers often state in their interviews that finishing the book is not the hardest part because once they begin typing, they only stop when the last full stop has been placed. It is the journey of having their books published that turns out to be the bigger headache.

Remember J.K. Rowling? The prolific award-winning author who became an inspiration for thousands of young authors around the world was rejected 12 times by different publishers. 12 times!

Therefore, before you take your months or years of hard work to be trampled upon, it is important to understand all the different types of publishing and have a clear idea on what kind of publishers to approach for your manuscript to be published.

Trade Publishing

Trade publishing is also known as traditional or commercial publishing. Major publication houses around the world manage the entire publication process which includes getting hold of manuscripts, editing them and sending them out for bulk printing.

Often these large-scale publication houses such as HarperCollins and Penguin Group have their own printing presses and worldwide distribution networks that allow them to sell their books. Most of the books that these publication houses publish become bestsellers. They approach award winning authors to have their books published through them.

Trade publishers publish books in a variety of formats. From paperbacks to hardcovers, e-books to audiobooks, these major publishing houses cater to the specific needs of their global consumers.

Academic Publishing

Academic publishing includes the publishing of textbooks, theses, journals or simply any kind of books, handbooks and guides that are written for academia.

Well-reputed universities like Oxford and Cambridge publish the work of academics.

Some other popular academic publishers are Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Reed Elsevier, and Houghton Mifflin.

Professional Publishing

This type of publishing is specific to a profession. For example, a professional publisher will accept informational or educational content that has been written to help a community of medical doctors. All the books and databases published through this publisher will be medical books, handbooks and guidebooks that aspiring doctors or professionals would want to read.

These are well researched books and the information is updated in real time to reflect the industry’s standards and best practices. Since frequent updates and reprints of books are costly, most of professional publishing has now shifted online to an eBook format. An example of a professional publisher is John Wiley.


Self-publishing, also known as vanity publishing, is when the author pays for the publication of their book. This generally happens with first time authors who find it difficult to have their work published by trade publishers. As we mentioned above, trade publishers are very selective with the manuscripts they accept.

Some self-publishers may offer their clients an editing service that is inclusive in the pricing, but others may choose to accept only well edited copies. Most self-publishers are only responsible for the printing and distribution of books.

Examples of self-publishers include:, Barnes & Noble Press, Blurb, and iUniverse.

Mind you, with self-publishing we mean companies. Authors can also publish their books themselves without a company. This is also called self-publishing. Cutting Edge Studio is specialized in helping these types of authors with everything they need before, during, and after the publishing process. Click here for more information.

Hybrid Publishing

Hybrid publishing operates on a different revenue model as compared to traditional publishing. It is a fusion of self-publishing and trade publishing. The hybrid model is sales and profits driven.

To learn more about hybrid publishing and why you should consider It, read our blog post here.

Looking for a self-publishing guide?

If you are an author and looking for more tips on how to publish and market your book, click here.

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