Facts about Publisher Careers

The technological revolution of the past two decades has redefined the whole concept of publisher careers. Computer technology and design software has given the individual the power to create and build his own printed media. Previously, this would have taken the work of many professionals as well as many man-hours to do. The Internet now provides a whole new avenue for publishers to sell and promote their products. This article will briefly take a look at the new world of publishing.

Desktop Publishing

Desktop publishing is where almost all of the publishing action is today. This is computer-aided publishing where the written media, be that books, magazines or pamphlets, are completely formatted, designed and edited on computers using a variety of software. The old days of "pre-press" publishing in which hard copy was done with mechanical press and typesetting machines are almost completely gone, resulting in huge changes in the printing and publishing industry. A book or magazine design can be previewed on computer and any mistakes corrected before the product goes to press.

Digital printing allows for unmatched clarity in the visual side of publishing. Not only can photographs and pictures be reproduced in brilliant color, but special effects can also be added that were unimaginable before. This visual aspect of publishing requires a lot of knowledge of software programs as well as extreme precision and attention to detail. Workers with the knowledge and skills for this work are in tremendous demand.

Desktop publishing is definitely the future of the industry.


Educational backgrounds and requirements for publishers vary greatly. It is generally recommended that a publisher have a college degree, but there are many who do not possess one. Some publishers are self-taught, but this is certainly not the norm. Many vocational or post-secondary schools offer classes in digital design and desktop publishing. There are also online courses one can take to learn the tools of the trade. Some companies offer internships in desktop publishing.

Examples of some of the basic courses a publisher would need to take might include these:

  • graphic arts design
  • digital typography
  • print media formatting
  • Website design

Most official training for desktop publishing lasts one to two years. Since technology is always changing and upgrading, a publisher will need to be constantly learning new skills. In addition to being good with technology, an outstanding publisher usually has a creative streak and the ability to imagine things visually.

Opportunities and Earnings

The outlook for skilled publishers today is extremely good. Employment is projected to rise faster than normal for the foreseeable future, but competition will also be fierce. The more specialized knowledge a publisher has and the more kinds of design programs he knows, the more he will be in demand and the more he will earn.  The biggest growth in publishing will be in commercial printing companies. Many large companies used to outsource their printing jobs, but the relative cheapness of desktop publishing means these firms are now publishing "in-house" and will need skilled professionals for the job.

Earnings for publishers vary quite a bit but average around $32,000 as of 2009. A beginning publisher may start out making less than $20,000, but those at the high end can easily make $50,000 or more per year.