Miscellaneous Publishing

SIC 2741

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This classification includes establishments primarily engaged in miscellaneous publishing activities, not elsewhere classified, whether or not engaged in printing. This includes the publishing of atlases, business service newsletters, calendars, catalogs, directories, guides, maps and map globe covers, paper patterns, race track programs, racing forms, sheet music, shopping news, technical manuals and papers, telephone directories, and yearbooks, as well as the activity of micropublishing.

Industry Snapshot

The various sectors encompassed in the classification of miscellaneous publishing typically are rather small, and about 95 percent employed fewer than 25 people in the late 2000s. According to figures from Dun & Bradstreet's 2009 Industry Reports, 18,943 establishments employed 121,516 people in the miscellaneous publishing industry. The industry, almost entirely domestic, depends heavily on the U.S. economy's advertising expenditure, and thus correlates rather closely with the state of the overall U.S. economy, which was bad news for miscellaneous publishers in the late 2000s.

Miscellaneous publishers tend to be specialized within their respective categories. However, in addition to independent publishing companies, some book and periodical publishers also have divisions or departments engaged in miscellaneous publishing. The industry spans a range of some of the largest companies in publishing down to sole-proprietorship enterprises. The activities of some miscellaneous publishers closely resemble book publishers, whereas others more closely resemble periodical publishers.

By far the largest single segment of this diverse industry category is telephone directory publishing, valued at more than $31.6 billion in 2006. While certain sectors in the publishing industry suffered setbacks with the growth of the Internet, e-commerce, and electronic publishing, directory publishers benefited from the change. After undergoing significant consolidation in the early 2000s, directory publishers found that because such publications are often fairly time sensitive and require frequent printings to keep information current, online publication allows quick and inexpensive updating without compromising revenue from advertisers.

Organization and Structure

Telephone Directories.
The largest category within miscellaneous publishing is telephone directory publishing, which comprises about one-third of the industry's revenue. More than 6,000 telephone directories are published in the United States annually by approximately 200 publishers. This includes both telephone companies or their subsidiaries and independent publishing companies. There are several kinds of telephone directories. The utility, or core directory, is the standard directory provided by telephone companies for their service areas, with an edition distributed free to the owner of each phone line. Directories for smaller regional areas, such as a specific town, neighborhood, or regions larger than the core directories cover, may be published by either a telephone company or an independent publisher. Telephone company publishers also publish business-to-business directories whose listings include establishments that would be of interest to other businesses. Finally, there are independent companies that publish special interest directories, such as those targeted to specific ethnic groups.

The telephone directory publishing industry is often synonymous with the term "yellow pages" publishing because the same companies publish both comprehensive alphabetical telephone listings and categorized paid advertising listings known generically as yellow pages. Even if certain directory editions do not contain classified business listings, their publishers earn revenues from the yellow pages that they publish, whether as part of a directory or in a separate volume. Telephone directory publishing is thus an unusual industry because the bulk of its revenues are earned through advertising services and not the selling of its publications. The yellow pages account for 85 percent of the directory printing market.

Directories.
Directory publishers that do not base their revenues on selling advertising space usually provide more comprehensive information on their entries than merely the telephone number and street address, and list individuals or organizations based on a common specialization. These directories are published by a different category of publishers than the telephone directory publishers. These publishers typically create and own their own databases of information to be published. Directory publishers may be primarily publishers of periodicals, such as trade journals, and publish directories focused on their journals' specialization. Other comprehensive directories, which provide substantive additional information, are published by reference book publishers. Directories are also published by nonprofit organizations, such as professional or trade associations. Two revenue streams exist for directory publishers: the reference works themselves and the database content of names and addresses for new business purposes.

Catalogs.
The catalog industry is primarily a printing industry because catalogs are usually produced on contract for manufacturing, wholesale, or retail companies for the marketing of their products. In some cases, however, publisher-printers create catalogs on their own as a business initiative.

Business Service Newsletters.
Newsletters geared to businesses and industries proliferated rapidly in the mid- and late 1990s, surpassing the billion-dollar sales mark in 1995 and reaching nearly $1.5 billion by the close of the decade. The field is crowded with more than 5,000 publications. Nearly half of their income is from related products and services, as these publications depend heavily on revenues from advertising. Profitability is also tied to the cost of postage. Because there are growing concerns about postal rates, many publishers cut costs by reducing paper weight and more accurately targeting their audiences.

The distinction between business service newsletters and regular periodical publishing is often blurred. In general, business service newsletters contain no advertisements, charge high subscription rates, are narrowly focused, and contain articles, tables, or graphs oriented toward data rather than commentary. Such newsletters are often available in electronic form in addition to or instead of print. Companies in this industry may be independent firms, but the largest publishers are often divisions or subsidiaries of market research or financial information services firms. Other business service publications besides newsletters are sometimes grouped with this category; these would include such publications as bibliographic databases.

Sheet Music.
Like trade book publishers, publishers of sheet music publish, market, and hold existing copyrights to creative works of independent composers and lyric authors. Many music publishers, however, derive the majority of their revenues from sources other than sheet music, namely from performance royalties or recorded music royalties for the music to which they own the copyrights. Thus, these publishers are categorized instead under the financial industry for patent and trademark owners and lessors. Publishers that gain most of their business from printed sheet music publishing, and thus are part of the miscellaneous publishing industry, tend to be publishers of classical music, in which most of the written music is in the public domain and no royalties are paid. Vocal music is another major category in printed music publishing. Sheet music publishers may also publish collections of their music as books.

Maps and Atlases.
Map and atlas publishers create maps with their own copyright, using data from public domain geographic surveys. The publishers' cartographers draw maps according to these surveys, altering the map sizes and adding to or deleting data from the maps. Major publishers publish their maps both in book form as atlases and as free-standing, poster-style maps. Smaller map publishers create local and regional maps for their local market. Cartographic companies draw up maps on request for clients, which are typically book publishers and advertising agencies. Other book or periodical publishers may also publish atlases as a secondary activity.

Trading Cards.
The trading card industry is dominated by baseball cards but also includes the publishing of other sports cards and entertainment cards, depicting personalities or scenes from films, television shows, games, and music. Companies may publish a full range of cards or they may specialize. Sport trading card publishers have licenses from the professional sports leagues and pay royalties to the players or teams pictured. There are about 80 companies in the sports and entertainment trading card business. Sport cards were originally sold with bubble gum but are increasingly sold separately and marketed toward adult collectors. Trading card publishers are often categorized under the printing industry instead of publishing.

Calendars.
Approximately 200 companies publish calendars in the United States. These comprise both specialized calendar publishers and those with other publishing or non-publishing activities. The industry does not include the multitude of companies that have calendars produced in their name as marketing devices.

Micropublishing.
Micropublishing comprises microfilm and microfiche publishing, known collectively as microform. Publishing on microform typically involves the reproduction of printed material, especially periodicals, for distribution primarily to libraries. Microform publishers usually are not the original copyright holders of documents but must obtain licenses from the original print publishers to publish microform editions. Newspapers and magazines are typically reproduced on reels of microfilm, whereas government documents and telephone directories are the texts most commonly published on microfiche. Some print publishers, such as The New York Times Company, publish their own microform versions.

Globes.
Globe publishing began with Johann Schiner, a German mathematician, who was the first to produce globes in quantity in 1515, shortly after the appearance of the printing press. Antique globes constitute a lucrative submarket in this sector, attracting the attention of collectors, and auction prices for eighteenth century versions have brought up to $20,000.

Background and Development

Telephone Directories.
The first telephone directory, which listed 50 names, was published in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1878, just two years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. The first directory with classified business headings was published in 1883. It is said that the first yellow pages were printed in 1883 when a printer in Cheyenne, Wyoming, ran out of white paper and had to use yellow sheets instead. Telephone directories were originally produced as a service for telephone users, and the business of taking in revenues from advertising developed later.

American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T), the major phone company in the United States, became the largest directory publisher, earning more than $1.5 million from its yellow pages business in the late 1970s. AT&T introduced the name "Yellow Pages" and the famous walking fingers logo but chose not to trademark either name or logo, which have since been adopted by numerous publishers. When AT&T divested its Bell companies in 1984, the directory publishing business was also divided among the seven new regional holding companies, resulting in a publishing subsidiary or division for each company. This led to greater competition for advertisers, as the regional Bell companies introduced directories for regions beyond their own service areas. Meanwhile, independent yellow pages publishers had existed for decades.

The yellow pages industry grew rapidly during the 1980s. Industry revenue grew from $2.9 billion in 1980 to $8.9 billion in 1990, including nonpublishing marketing and advertising service sales. The number of directory editions published increased steadily to a peak of 6,500 in 1986, when the number began to decline somewhat. The regional Bell companies withdrew to publishing for only their own territories in response to consumer confusion and advertiser complaints over multiple yellow pages for the same region. In addition, some niche publications, such as one by Southwestern Bell that targeted the elderly, were unsuccessful. Although traditionally considered a recession-proof industry, yellow pages advertising sales slowed, but did not decline during the recession of the early 1990s.

Several trends affected yellow pages publishing in the early 1990s. Publishers were increasingly relying on third-party marketing agencies, and the industry was working toward a standardized advertising menu. Targeted niche marketing was also being further developed. The growth in popularity of toll-free telephone numbers led to an increase in national advertising, as companies sought to attract customers outside their locale by advertising in various yellow pages throughout the country. Audiotex services also were introduced in some areas. Sometimes referred to as "talking yellow pages," voice information services permitted callers to input codes for information on the advertised product or service. Yellow pages publishers, both independent and utility, teamed up with newspaper publishers to offer these information services. Another trend among telephone directory publishers was a greater dedication to community service with the publishing of community-oriented information pages.

Telephone directories constituted a nearly $12 billion sector in the late 1990s, by far the largest category in the miscellaneous publishing industry, although these revenues include advertising-related services as well. The growth-hungry U.S. business environment played no small part in the sector's strong sales, and yellow pages advertising revenues were up 8 percent in 1999 to reach $2.16 billion. Despite these strong figures, however, the industry's voracious competition kept advertising prices fairly low. The 1996 Telecommunications Act opened the door for independent directory publishers to gain a foothold in this industry by forcing phone companies to release their listings databases. By 1998, independent publishers had achieved an 8 percent share of the directory market. Meanwhile, American Business Information took advantage of opened directory listings to develop a white page database with more than 100 million residential listings for use in Internet directories and telemarketing.

The Yellow Pages Publishers Association embarked on its first national marketing campaign in years, shedding its famous "walking fingers" logo in favor of a yellow light bulb in an effort to promote the yellow pages as an idea source. Meanwhile, in urban markets such as New York, yellow pages geared toward specific ethnic groups experienced great success in the late 1990s. Such directories focus on people and businesses of specific ethnic groups in their own languages, catering to customers with an affinity for doing business within a subcommunity and promoting strong identity ties within ethnic populations. This niche market, with its more specialized advertising, provided profitable supplement income for yellow pages publishers.

According to the Yellow Pages Association, the yellow pages market in the United States was $14 billion in 2006, representing a nearly 55 percent share of the global market. The use of printed telephone directories was declining slightly in favor of online directories. Americans looked up 14.5 billion references in printed yellow pages in 2005, down from 14.8 the previous year. Online directories picked up the slack, edging up from 1.5 billion references in 2004 to 1.8 billion in 2005. The Kelsey Group, a media research company, projected that advertising revenue for print and online yellow pages would grow from $30.6 billion in 2006 to $38.9 billion in 2011. Online yellow pages were expected to capture a greater share of the combined pool, growing from $4.1 billion in 2006 to $11.1 billion in 2011.

Catalogs.
More than 17 billion catalogs were mailed in 1998, the equivalent of 64 for every person in the United States and consuming more than 3 million tons of paper. Such news was not unnoticed by environmentalists, for whom the Internet was a welcome development. Catalog growth expanded 8 percent annually between 1993 and 1998, but began a slow decline at the end of the decade as consumers shifted to buying directly from the Internet.

The number of catalogs mailed in the United States dropped 2.7 percent in 2001 to 19 billion units, roughly 70 per year for every man, woman, and child. Various economic factors negatively affected catalog producers, however, including the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, as well as postal increases. In response, some catalog producers reduced circulation, page counts, and trim size, or moved to less expensive paper.

Nevertheless, more and more shoppers made purchases from catalogs. The Direct Marketing Association estimated that catalog sales, including online sales, actually grew 6.3 percent to $118.1 billion in 2001. In the early 2000s, about 10,000 catalogs were published every year in the United States. Approximately 60 percent of those catalogs were consumer-oriented marketers, and 40 percent served the business-to-business market. At the time, the top U.S. catalog publisher was Dell Computer, with $31.9 billion in catalog sales; International Business Machines (IBM) and W.W. Grainger followed at a distant second and third.

Sheet Music.
The global market for sheet music publishing continued its slow but steady growth through the mid-1990s. The 1999 International Survey of Music Publishers, conducted by the National Music Publishers Association, listed total publishing revenues of $6.29 billion worldwide in 1997. This included both mechanical royalties and performance revenue. The gap between these segments was widening in favor of the former. Mechanical royalties, which are based on the reproduction of published music, generated an income of $2.74 billion, or 44 percent of total publishing revenues. However, growth in sheet music publishing revenues was limited by the tendency toward copyright violations. Because sheet music is usually only a few pages long, it is easily photocopied illegally. In 1998, U.S. music publishers signed a 10-year royalty contract with record labels, securing publishing revenues into the 2000s.

According to the National Music Publishers' Association Inc., total publishing revenues gained 6.7 percent in 2000 to reach $6.87 billion worldwide. There were problems facing the industry, however, the biggest of which was piracy. The growing number of illegally shared music files, downloads of music from the Internet, and "burning" music onto recordable compact discs threatened to undermine the global music industry. The economy in the early 20002 led to sales slowdowns, as well as the maturation of the compact disc in major markets. Intellectual property protection problems also emerged in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and other developing regions.

Trading Cards.
The 1990s were an exasperating decade for the trading card industry. Companies were forced to adapt quickly to survive a shaken market as sales across all categories declined, greatly exacerbated by a series of sports strikes. In 1998 manufacturers and licensers formed the Sports Card Association Inc. to pool efforts following a 60-percent decline in total industry sales, which plummeted from $1 billion in the early 1990s to $450 million in 1998. The association launched huge promotional campaigns, including offers of trips to sports All-Star games, as well as large sports- and entertainment-card displays in retail stores. In early 1999 baseball cards comprised 37 percent of sales; footballs cards, 34 percent; and all others, 24 percent.

This segment of the industry was revitalized by Pokemon. Through 1999 the children's sensation almost single-handedly resuscitated the trading-card market. The release of Pokemon movies sustained sales through 2000, which reached $778.4 million. By 2001 sales were down to $511 million. Meanwhile, the secondary market of dealers and collectors grew due to increases in sales to adults, sophistication in marketing, and the use of nonexclusive licensing contracts by professional sport leagues as a means of improving their images and marketing their players and teams.

Trading cards remained a formidable segment in 2001, with $658 million in sales. Like many segments in the miscellaneous publishing industry, trading cards were also making the move online, with leading baseball card marketer Topps launching an Internet-based trading card line in 2001. The lines offered baseball, football, basketball, and hockey player cards available online only for between $3 and $9. The etopps Trading Floor, a trading site co-branded with online auctioneer eBay, provided the platform for trading and selling the cards among registered users. Another innovation in trading cards came in 2002, when StatCard introduced Smart Trading Cards that combined trading cards with online gaming. The game, using chip technology, allowed users to connect to their PCs with a card reader and play a game online as the player on the card.

Yearbooks.
Yearbook sales remain strong due to demographic trends. The growing number of elementary school students through the 2000s led to increasing numbers of high school graduates as those children came of age. Yearbook publishers greatly enjoy the benefits from the unpaid creative efforts of students. However, the sector's intense competition was characterized by the victory of Taylor Publishing Co. in an antitrust lawsuit against market leader Jostens Inc. in 1997, which held that Jostens had interfered with Taylor's sales representatives.

Current Conditions

Directory and mailing list publishers dominated employment in the miscellaneous publishing industry in the mid- to late 2000s. According to the latest available figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, 1,824 establishments were engaged specifically in directory and mailing list publication, employing more than 57,000 individuals. Music publishers numbered 645 and employed approximately 4,610 workers. All other publishers, including those that publish art prints, atlases, calendars, and maps, employed more than 12,574 workers at approximately 1,200 establishments in the United States. Revenues for this sector reached $18.9 million in 2006, $2.9 million of which came from online directories. According to Research and Markets, as reported in Marketing Weekly News, annual revenue in 2008 for the directory and mailing list publishing industry reached $20 billion; about 80 percent of sales came from printed directories. The 50 largest companies accounted for more than 90 percent of industry revenue, and the top four (R.H. Donnelley, Idearc, Acxiom, and infoUSA) accounted for more than 60 percent.

Like many industries in the United States, miscellaneous publishing felt the effects of the economic downturn of the late 2000s. According to a report by Global Yellow Pages, revenues from print and online directories were expected to decline 1.2 percent worldwide from $30.9 billion in 2008 to $29.1 billion in 2013. However, according to the organization's press release, "A 5.7 percent decline in print revenues from 2008 to 2013 will be somewhat offset by a 15.2 percent increase in online revenues."

Industry Leaders

R. H. Donnelly Corp. of Cary, North Carolina, is credited with inventing the telephone directory in 1886, when Rueben Hamilton Donnelley began publishing a directory for the Chicago Telephone Company. The company, which posted revenues of $2.6 billion in 2008, produces more than 600 Yellow Pages and White Pages directories under the brands Dex Yellow Pages, EMBARQ Yellow Pages, and AT & T Yellow Pages. R.H. Donnelly filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

Other leaders in this segment of the industry included Idearc Inc., which was spun off from Verizon Communications in 2006. Idearc, based in Dallas, Texas, produces more than 1,200 telephone directories in 35 states, including 60 Hispanic directories. Idearc's revenue for 2008 was more than $2.9 billion. Idearc was also facing bankruptcy, filing for Chapter 11 in 2009.

Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock, Arkansas, provides demographic information to direct mail advertisers and posted revenues of $1.2 billion in 2009. InfoUSA Services Group, a division of InfoGROUP (formerly InfoUSA), was also a leading provider for the direct mail industry.

The leading business service publishers in the late 2000s included Dow Jones and Co. of New York, the Dun & Bradstreet Corp. of Short Hills, New Jersey, which had sales of $1.7 billion in 2008; Moody's Corp. of New York, with $1.7 billion in 2008 sales; Cengage Learning (formerly Thomson Corp.) of Stamford, Connecticut; and Value Line Inc. of New York, with sales of $69.2 million in 2009.

The January 2000 merger of EMI Group PLC and Time Warner Inc. created the largest music publishing firm in the world. EMI Music Publishing, based in New York City, administers the rights to more than 1 million songs and had annual revenues of around $730 million in the mid-2000s. Second after EMI Music is Warner/Chappell Music Inc., the Los Angeles-based subsidiary of Warner Music Group. Warner/Chappell's sales in 2006 were approximately $607 million. Universal Music Publishing Group of Los Angeles, California, is also among the world's top music publishers. This subsidiary of Universal Music Group had annual sales of $465 million in 2005.

The nation's largest catalog publisher-printer, as well as the largest commercial printer in the country, was R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company. The firm engaged in a variety of printing and publishing activities, as well as online and electronic-commerce services, generating revenues of $11.5 billion in 2008 for all its activities.

Sagging industry sales resulted in the reshuffling of the leading sports card publishers in the late 1990s. Long-time market leader Topps Company Inc. in New York maintained its position with sales of $326.7 million in 2007, derived also from candy products and comic books. The Upper Deck Company LLC, founded in 1988 in Carlsbad, California, produces sports trading cards for baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and stock car racing, as well as for Marvel comic characters and other popular entertainment icons. The Donruss, Playoff, Leaf, and Score brands of sports trading cards belong to Donruss Playoff LP of Arlington, Texas. The company added the brands Pacific, Prism, and Crown Royale to its stable with the acquisition of Pacific Trading Cards in 2004.

Rand McNally & Co. of Skokie, Illinois, remained the world's largest commercial map publisher, selling more than 10 million road atlases in 60,000 stores annually in addition to its hardcover world atlases. In 1998 Rand McNally purchased another leading map publishers, Thomas Brothers, whose specialty in digitally mapped street guides produced annual sales of $30 million and was incorporated into Rand McNally's burgeoning CD-ROM mapping products. Successful products in this line included the Business Traveler's Suite CD-ROM package.

Jostens Inc., based in Minneapolis, prints about half of all high school yearbooks in the United States, as well as class rings, graduation products, and Super Bowl rings. Jostens is a subsidiary of Visant Holding Corp., based in Armonk, New York. Overall sales for Jostens reached $850 million in 2008.

America and the World

Most companies engaged in miscellaneous publishing have little or no international presence. Only about 1 percent of all products in this category are set for exports; thus, firms focus little on international marketing campaigns.

One area that has experienced increasing international activity is directory publishing. After British Telecommunications purchased Yellow Book U.S.A., many analysts expected to see an increase in international merger activity, particularly in the market for online directory publishing. As the global business climate integrates, firms will likely desire access to detailed information on overseas businesses, thus heightening the need for internationally based directories.

As the U.S. directory market splintered following the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which ended the monopoly power wielded by telephone companies, foreign operations increasingly maintained the largest yellow pages publishing operations. Although local and national telephone utilities continued to publish the alphabetical directories, the commercial market was left wide open for experienced North American publishers. However, U.S. publishers took considerable strides to compete with these larger firms in untapped markets where no large-scale yellow pages existed. U.S. publishers won contracts to publish directories in Eastern Europe and Russia as those countries move toward a free-market economy.

Sheet music publishing is a lucrative international business, along with music publishing as a whole. Publishers contract with licensed distribution agents in each country or region in which they distribute their music. In printed music, the United States is the world leader. The revenues of U.S. music publishers have been growing faster internationally than domestically. After the United States, the countries with the largest music publishing industries are Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and France. Taken together, these top five countries hold nearly 70 percent of the world music publishing market.

Affected by a logic of globalization similar to that of directory publishers, business service newsletter publishers are increasingly marketing their publications internationally to serve business people interested in market conditions in different countries. Newsletters are much lighter than business magazines and therefore ship well by airmail. Whether companies are sending articles, bibliographic or directory databases, or numeric tables, business service publications in electronic formats are by far the easiest to "export."

Research and Technology

Throughout the miscellaneous publishing industry, many publishers of printed material have begun publishing versions of their books or periodicals on CD-ROM, while others license their data to specialized CD-ROM publishers and online vendors. A wide range of miscellaneous publishing exists on CD-ROM: telephone directories, other directories, maps, business service publications, business newsletters, guides, and even forms of catalogs and yearbooks. Some business service publishers now publish more information in electronic form than either print or microform. Fax and online information services are being utilized, especially by business newsletter publishers who need to provide speedy delivery of information.

CD-ROMs have the physical attributes, low production costs, and standardization necessary to make it an almost ideal medium for publishing, data distribution, and archival material for the business consumer. Computerized maps of the entire United States with adjustable scales now fit on one CD-ROM. Rand McNally, along with several other map producers, have expanded into the CD-ROM market. Rand McNally has enjoyed strong sales from its TripMaker, StreetFinder, and Quick Reference Atlas CD-ROMs. New products and markets include oversized posters, banners, and maps for exhibits or murals and a variety of surfaces. Many reference books, technical manuals, and even children's books are packaged with a CD-ROM version accompanying them. CD-ROMS are increasingly used for technical manuals because of their ease of indexing and compactness. The manufacturing industry at large still relies heavily on paper technical manuals, however.

© COPYRIGHT 2018 The Gale Group, Inc. This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group. For permission to reuse this article, contact the Copyright Clearance Center.

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