Ask around in a general crowd who the top publishing company is, and a significant number of people will say it's Amazon. But Amazon isn't a publishing company at all let alone a top publishing company. It's a major distributor or retailer of books which have been published, by and large, by their authors and it has millions of titles on its virtual shelves.
Amazon, quite unlike any genuine top publishing company, has taken advantage of the internet in allowing authors the platform upon which to reach their readers. It does this without applying any visible type of discrimination or selection (save through the mysteries of its complex algorithms), letting so-called market forces dictate the visibility and therefore commercial success of the wares it displays.
It could be said that the top publishing company currently is the individual, because never before has it been easier to get a book out into the world, and never before has there been such a choice spread out before readers. But a glut in which the good is inextricably mixed with the bad is a diet which chokes rather than nourishes.
An author is not the best person to be objective about their book, with the result not only that inferior books find their way onto the market, but also books which might have been improved in ways which the author perhaps didn't recognise or perhaps wasn't capable of, are spewed out in their raw state.
Never again will there be the need or the place for the autocratic top publishing company which stifles new talent through rejection as it assures its own profits by walking a path of minimal risk. However publishers do have a place in the world, and there is currently a vacuum waiting to be filled by a top publishing company which will have the know-how to make use of new technology as well as the time-honoured skills to recognise true ability and groom language and presentation so as to make readers feel that the quality of the product they are buying has not deteriorated.
A top publishing company traditionally accorded only a small percentage of a book's sales revenue to an author by way of royalties and the whole process was both unavoidable, as there was no other way of reaching an audience, and shrouded in mystery. The top publishing company of the new era may in some cases share some of the expenses of publishing with the author, but on the other hand needs to operate with complete transparency and pass on a far higher percentage of the revenue.
The free-for-all which is currently the situation in the self-publishing world is to be deplored, but at the same time the loosening of the stranglehold applied by the old world top publishing company is to be welcomed. Let us hope that a new age of enlightenment is on the horizon.
Atul is author of countless articles on a myriad of different topics. He represents Any Subject Books, a top book publishing company that offers authors the full range of modern publication, promotion and other ancillary services.
The Book Publisher World isn't Dead