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Print Publishing

Royalty Profile for Print Publishing-based Licensed Merchandise


Sector value, U.S. & Canada, 2017: $4.64 billion

  • Books: $0.48 billion
  • Newspapers/Magazines: $2.87 billion
  • Comic Books/Strips: $1.28 billion

Proportion of retail sales of licensed merchandise, U.S. & Canada, 2017: 4.3%

  • Books: 0.4%
  • Newspapers/Magazines: 2.6%
  • Comic Books/Strips: 1.2%

Average royalty, U.S. & Canada, 2018: 8.49%

  • Books: 7.95%
  • Newspapers/Magazines: 8.17%
  • Comic Books/Strips: 9.57%

Royalty range, U.S. & Canada, 2018: 2%–18%

  • Books: 6%–14%
  • Newspapers/Magazines: 2%–12%
  • Comic Books/Strips: 5%–18%

Average royalty, U.S. & Canada, (10 years) 2009–2018: 8.62%

  • Books: 7.95%
  • Newspapers/Magazines: 8.15%
  • Comic Books/Strips: 9.58%


While publishing has been steadily declining since 2007, it has seen a bump in the last couple of years.

Comic books/strips command the highest royalties, on average, similar to those for some entertainment properties. Magazine brands tend to run below the business-wide average with the exception of some “lifestyle brands”, as do corporate brands in general. The popularity of magazines for direct-to-retail deals also lowers the average.

Another factor driving down average rates is the long-term nature of publishing arrangements, given that it can take a year or so to launch a book from conception.

A property that draws 8% as a book series can graduate to 10%–12% when TV or other entertainment is added to the mix.

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