Ask Difference

Publishing vs. Publication — What's the Difference?

By Urooj Arif & Fiza Rafique — Updated on March 18, 2024
Publishing is the process of producing and distributing literature or information, whereas publication refers to the actual work or document that has been published.
Publishing vs. Publication — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Publishing and Publication


Key Differences

Publishing involves the activities related to the production and dissemination of literature, music, information, or software, aiming to make content available to the public. On the other hand, publication is the result of this process, representing the actual book, article, music piece, or software that is made available to the public.
While publishing is an ongoing process that includes editing, design, production, and marketing, publication marks the completion of this process, when the work is finally released and accessible to the audience. This distinction highlights the dynamic nature of publishing versus the static nature of a publication.
Publishing companies or self-publishing authors engage in publishing, focusing on the steps required to bring a work to the public. In contrast, a publication can be anything from a novel, a research paper, to a music album, identifying the tangible or digital outcome of the publishing process.
The term "publishing" also refers to the industry as a whole, encompassing a wide range of activities including but not limited to digital publishing, book publishing, and academic publishing. Publication, however, is specific to the individual instance of a work that has been made public, regardless of the medium.
Publishing is action-oriented, involving various stages and participants to produce and distribute content, while publication is the end product, the physical or digital item that audiences can access.

Comparison Chart


The process of producing and distributing content.
The actual work that has been published.


Dynamic, ongoing process.
Static, completed work.


Editing, design, marketing, production.
The result of publishing (book, article, etc.).

Industry Reference

Refers to the entire industry or personal activity.
Refers to the individual instance of a work.


The steps required to make content public.
The content that has been made public.

Compare with Definitions


Includes marketing and distribution.
The publishing process isn't over until the book is in readers' hands.


The act of making something publicly known.
The publication of her findings changed the field.


Refers to the action of making content public.
Publishing her article in a prestigious journal was a milestone.


A book, paper, or article that has been made available to the public.
His publication on ancient history is well-respected.


The business of producing books, journals, and other content for sale.
She works in publishing and deals with authors daily.


Represents the end product of publishing.
The publication date of his novel is set for next month.


Involves the entire process from manuscript to market.
Publishing his novel took two years.


Often the result of academic research.
Her latest publication discusses breakthroughs in biotechnology.


Can be digital or print.
Digital publishing has revolutionized how we access books.


Can refer to digital or print mediums.
The online publication reaches millions worldwide.


Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the creation and distribution of printed works, such as books, newspapers, and magazines.


To publish is to make content available to the general public. While specific use of the term may vary among countries, it is usually applied to text, images, or other audio-visual content, including paper (newspapers, magazines, catalogs, etc.).


To prepare and issue (a book, music, or other material) for public distribution, especially for sale.


The act or process of publishing matter in print or electronic form.


To prepare and issue a work or works by (an author).


An issue of printed or electronic matter, such as a book or magazine, offered for distribution or sale.


To bring to the public attention; announce.


Communication of information to the public
The publication of the latest unemployment figures.


To issue a publication.


The act of publishing printed or other matter.


To be the writer of works that are published.


An issue of printed or other matter, offered for sale or distribution.


The industry of publishing, including the production and distribution of books, magazines, web sites, newspapers, etc.


The communication of information to the general public etc.


Something published; a publication.


The act of publishing or making known; notification to the people at large, either by words, writing, or printing; proclamation; divulgation; promulgation; as, the publication of the law at Mount Sinai; the publication of the gospel; the publication of statutes or edicts.


Present participle of publish


The act of offering a book, pamphlet, engraving, etc., to the public by sale or by gratuitous distribution.
The publication of these papers was not owing to our folly, but that of others.


The business of publishing


That which is published or made known; especially, any book, pamphlet, etc., offered for sale or to public notice; as, a daily or monthly publication.


An act done in public.
His jealousy . . . attends the business, the recreations, the publications, and retirements of every man.


A copy of a printed work offered for distribution


The act of issuing printed materials


The business of publishing

Common Curiosities

What is publishing?

Publishing is the process involved in making literature, information, or music available to the public for sale or distribution.

What is a publication?

A publication is the actual work or document that has been published and made available to the public.

How does publishing differ from publication?

Publishing refers to the process and activities leading to the distribution of content, while publication is the end result or the work itself that is distributed.

Is digital content considered a publication?

Yes, both digital and print content that has been made publicly available can be considered a publication.

What's the importance of publishing in academia?

In academia, publishing is crucial for sharing research findings, advancing knowledge, and contributing to academic discourse.

Who is involved in the publishing process?

Authors, editors, publishers, designers, marketers, and distributors are typically involved in the publishing process.

What is a self-publication?

Self-publication is when the author publishes their work independently, without the involvement of a traditional publishing house.

Can something be considered a publication without going through publishing?

No, for a work to be considered a publication, it must go through the publishing process.

Can anyone publish a work?

Yes, with self-publishing platforms and digital media, anyone can publish a work, though the process and quality control may vary.

What does the publishing industry encompass?

The publishing industry includes book publishing, academic publishing, digital publishing, and any sector involved in producing and distributing content.

Are blogs considered publications?

Yes, blogs can be considered publications as they are content made available to the public, usually through a publishing process, albeit a digital one.

What's the difference between an editor and a publisher?

An editor is involved in reviewing and preparing content for publication, while a publisher oversees the entire process of production, marketing, and distribution.

How do I get my work published?

To get a work published, one can submit manuscripts to publishers, consider self-publishing, or publish digitally through various platforms.

How has digital technology impacted publishing?

Digital technology has significantly expanded publishing, making it easier and faster to distribute content worldwide.

What legal considerations are there in publishing?

Publishing involves copyright laws, permissions, and sometimes libel considerations to protect the rights of authors and publishers.

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger
Previous Comparison
Immortal vs. Invincible
Next Comparison
Cyan vs. Cyanide

Author Spotlight

Written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms