Publishing Internships 2024

If you love the printed word and can’t think of anything else besides holding a freshly printed magazine or beautifully bound book in your hands - a career in publishing is for you. This is your guide to publishing internships.

Books. We love them. Gone are the days when books were associated with grand cobweb-ridden libraries in haunted house movies or even dull trips to the library. Books, like dogs, are for life. 

Publishing is a multi-million-pound industry. Publishers in the UK sold an astonishing 91 million books in 2022 and currently employ well over 40,000 staff across the UK.

It’s also not all about books either. Publishers are also responsible for magazines and newspapers.

If you love the printed word and can’t think of anything else besides holding a freshly printed magazine or beautifully bound book in your hands - a career in publishing is for you. How? Through an internship! Publishing internships are the best way to get the experience you need to become employee number 40,001.

Read on to find out how and where you can get involved.

How do I get experience in publishing?

Ngl, Publishing is a HARD nut to crack.

You might be the most decorated candidate with educational qualifications seeping from your pores, but without the experience - it’ll be difficult to start the first chapter of your career.

You’re probably wondering why. It’s mainly because there are far more applicants than vacancies. However, once you’re in - you’ll have a job for life. So it’s worth the effort. With that in mind, getting an edge over the competition is essential.

The best way that you can (and should) do this is with a publishing internship. An internship in publishing will give you the experience employers crave.

The different types of publishing

You might think of book publishing when you hear publishing, and you’re almost right. Three types of publishing exist for you to stick your nose into. And the great news is you’ll find publishing internships for each of them.

Consumer/Trade publishing

This widely known form of publishing includes everything from fiction and non-fiction books to magazines.

Education publishing

Textbooks, online teaching resources and school revision guides can be found in this sector. 

Academic and professional publishing 

JSTOR fans, stand up! This publishing section is where academic journals, texts, STM (scientific, technical, medical), and monographs are found.

For the most part, publishing internships will fall under the traditional publishing route. You’ll find that their books take up a high percentage of the shelves in a bookstore. Traditional publishers pay an author an advance to buy the full rights to distribute, publish and sell their book. Also known as the “Big-5”, the biggest traditional publishers are:

  • Hachette

  • HarperCollins

  • Macmillan

  • Penguin Random House

  • Simon & Schuster.

Outside of that, there are many other massive publishing houses, including…

  • Grove Atlantic

  • Hay House

  • McGraw-Hill

  • Sterling

  • Wiley.

What does a publishing intern do?

Publishing is very fast-paced, so an intern will be involved in several tasks from day one. So don’t expect to be stuck making teas or doing coffee runs.

As an intern, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the publishing world and gain first-hand experience working for a publishing house. Some tasks will include:

  • Administration tasks: arranging meetings, booking travel logistics, delivery admin, etc

  • Events assisting

  • Researching potential clients and partnerships

  • Creating promotional assets

  • Attending editorial meetings and taking minutes

  • Fact-checking, proof-reading, and some editing

  • Liaising with the press, PR, celebrities and more.

"“I have learned more than I could have imagined and will take into my next job. Also, the skills have helped me develop as a person.”" Publishing Intern, The Walt Disney Company

Applying for publishing internships

Applying for an internship is very similar to applying for a graduate role.

You’ll need to ensure your CV and cover letter are in great shape, and then you’ll fill in an online application.

Publishing internships are competitive, so you need to make sure your application pops. Your CV and cover letter should tell the story of why you're passionate about this industry. You should also include things you’ve done. This can include;

  • Written blog posts

  • Written for the school/uni newspaper

  • Your love for creative writing

  • Favourite authors, etc

Show yourself off. It all helps!

Depending on the role you’ve applied for, they might ask for more before you get to the interview stage.

For example, if you’ve applied for a more creative role like an illustrator. You’ll need to get a portfolio together. Or, if you’ve applied for a role in audio - a portfolio of your editing work and sound design is a good idea. This can also include projects you’ve done outside of university.

If an employer is impressed, they’ll get in touch and invite you to an interview. Some internship and work experience application processes also involve assessment centres where you’ll have a face-to-face interview and take part in group tasks.

Want to know more about what it’s like to do a publishing internship? Have a read of our student-written reviews.

Browse publishing Reviews

Where can I get experience in publishing?

Fun fact, there are 904 publishers in the UK. Most of which are looking for some eager future talent (like yourself) to join them.

There are large, medium-sized and small-sized publishers to work for. Publishing internships will last anywhere between one to six months, and it’s your job to make sure you make the most out of that time at the company you’ll feel most at home.

If you want to get the heavy hitters of publishing on your CV, look towards the big and medium-sized publishing houses. Or if working as part of a close-knit team interests you, a small publishing house would be on the books.

Here are some publishers who offer internships…

Penguin Random House

It’s an absolute powerhouse of a publisher with 250 divisions, over 10,000 employees worldwide and 183 years of publishing dominance. Plus, it’s published some of the world’s best-selling books, including Prince Harry’s Spare.

Its emerging talent programmes include an internship scheme that runs between July and August, where you’ll be in charge of a project.

Penguin Random House also offers two weeks paid work experience that you can do at any time throughout the year.

Meet Cameron, a marketing intern at Penguin Random House. Watch to find out more about her experience.

Harper Collins Publishers

Founded in 1817, Harper Collins is the second-largest publishing house in the world and has published some of the most-revered authors, including C. S. Lewis, Agatha Christie and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Harper Collins offers three paid publishing internships throughout the year. A summer internship and an autumn/spring internship.

The summer internship runs between June and August and lasts 10 weeks. During this time, interns will learn about publishing and will include presentations from the industry’s finest. There’s also an icebreaker bowling trip to look forward to.

Autumn and spring internships also last 10 weeks and are open to undergraduates.

CGP Books

Remember those GCSE workbooks with super cheesy jokes? Well, CGP Books are the people behind them, and it offers paid internships.

CGP Books accepts CVs and cover letters anytime and keeps your details on file until an opening becomes available. Its graduate internship scheme runs for six months, and you’ll be based in the stunning Lake District (imagine the lunchtime walks). CGP Books are looking for interns who…

  • Have a degree

  • A quick learner with a curious mind

  • Flexible and keen to muck in with the team

  • Happy working with technology and unfamiliar software

  • A confident communicator

  • Methodical, meticulous and a brilliant problem-solver.

The CGP office is quite rural, so it’ll be a massive plus if you can drive. You’ll also get paid £22,000 pro rata. There’s also the possibility of free accommodation for two weeks while you find a place to stay.

"“The experience was invaluable for gaining a career in publishing as I was able to complete tasks that might not have been possible in a larger company. For instance, assisting with editing manuscripts and providing ideas for upcoming book publications.”" Publishing Work Experience, Michael O’Mara Books

Choosing the right company is SO important. 

Our Best Student Employers table ranks employers eating up the competition and offering students world-class work experience opportunities in the UK. The best part? They’re made up of thousands of reviews written by students just like you.

View Best Student Employers

How much do publishing interns make?

Your salary depends on various factors, so it’s hard to pin down.

Internships usually last anywhere between a few weeks to six months. So any salary you do earn will be a pro rata of the full-time salary.

However, as a benchmark, publishing interns can expect to earn anywhere between £19,000 to £23,000 pro rata. Some schemes might also cover travel and lunch expenses.

If your internship is London-based, you’ll earn a little more to reflect the London Living Wage, which is currently £11.95 per hour.

There are loads of big and small publishers looking for young talent to join their ranks. However, not all of them are paid - especially with smaller publishers. 

It’s doubly important to do your research and see what’s on offer, especially before accepting any unpaid work. It might seem tempting to embark on an unpaid internship, especially if it’s about getting experience. However, unpaid internships can be the Sauron of the working world, and you might not get the experience you deserve.

Hear from our very own, Louise, on why she regrets her unpaid internship in publishing.

At, we will always only advertise paid work experience opportunities.

What can I do after a publishing internship?

During your publishing internship, you’ll become a jack of all trades and learn everything there is to know about the publishing world.

During your internship, you’ll find that there are some aspects of publishing that you gravitate to. So you’ll be pleased to know that once you’re finished - there’s an opportunity to specialise and get a job in a specific part of publishing.

There are generally 10 sections to the publisher career. These are…

  • Agenting

  • Audio

  • Audience and digital development

  • Design

  • Editorial

  • Marketing and communications

  • Production

  • Publicity

  • Rights

  • Sales

Some roles you can specialise in can range from being a literary agent to an art director or even an illustrator. Here are some roles you can do after a publishing internship…

Literary agent assistant

You’ll be a literary agent’s right-hand person. The life of a literary agent is busy, and you’ll take on loads of responsibilities, including assisting the agent in finding and nurturing new talent. Tasks include writing copy to reading manuscripts, setting schedules and daily queries.

Audio assistant

You’ll help to manage recordings by preparing and supplying scripts. You’ll even get the chance to book actors who record audiobooks. (Ekin-Su reading an edition of Charlotte’s Web is a great idea, by the way.) There’s lots of admin that you’ll get into, which includes managing various systems and handling recording equipment.

Publicist assistant

Publishing is a bustling industry, and this has to be one of the most exciting aspects. As a publicist assistant, you’ll help the team to develop book campaigns. Tasks can include working alongside PR agents, creating social media posts, and sending books to celebs and influencers alike.

There’s more where that came from. The Publishers Association has a full breakdown of the varied roles within the publishing industry.

Ready to turn the page in your career? Sign up to be the first to know about the latest publishing roles.