Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software, and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the creation and distribution of printed works, such as books, newspapers, and magazines. With the advent of digital information systems, the scope has expanded to include digital publishing such as ebooks, digital magazines, websites, social media, music, and video game publishing.
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The commercial publishing industry ranges from large multinational conglomerates such as News Corp, Pearson, Penguin Random House, and Thomson Reuters, to major retail brands and thousands of small independent publishers. It has various divisions such as trade/retail publishing of fiction and non-fiction, educational publishing, and academic and scientific publishing. Publishing is also undertaken by governments, civil society, and private companies for administrative or compliance requirements, business, research, advocacy, or public interest objectives. This can include annual reports, research reports, market research, policy briefings, and technical reports. Self-publishing has become very common.
"Publisher" can refer to a publishing company or organization, or to an individual who leads a publishing company, imprint, periodical, or newspaper.