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Publishing is the activity of putting information in the public arena. Although this can mean something as simple as making an announcement in a pub or market square, for some centuries it has usually referred to the business of producing books, magazines, newspapers and other printed material.

A modern book publishing company (or publisher) is usually involved in buying or commissioning content, editing it, and preparing it for printing. It usually also controls the advertising and other marketing tasks. However, it is usually not directly involved in retail sale of the product.

It is usual for publishing companies to contract-out various aspects of the process. Book publishers rarely own printing presses and binderies, although newspaper and magazine companies still often do. Book editing, proof-reading and layout might be done by freelancers, and the finished product sold to a distributor. If the entire process up to the stage of printing is handled by an outside company or individuals, then sold to the publishing company, it is known as book packaging.

Technically, radio and TV also publish information, but this is more usually called broadcasting. Internet publishing is a reversion to the original meaning of the word, as the information so published is often not produced by a business and is often not a commercial product.

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