Publishers have the power to dictate which books make it to print and which ones don’t. If you’re thinking of starting a book publishing company, then you could be looking at a worthwhile business venture. However, before you begin asking writers to submit their manuscripts, it’s important to talk about the legal aspects of starting a book publishing company. 

How Do You Publish A Book? 

There’s a number of different factors that go into getting a book from a draft copy to a published piece. The book needs to be thoroughly edited, the cover designed and you’ll need to find someone to print it. It’s also important to consider factors like marketing and audiobook arrangements. 

However, there’s even more that goes into getting a book published than just those things. There’s contracts, copyright matters, intellectual property rights, distribution, permission to name a few. These are the legal considerations of book publishing and they shouldn’t be ignored, as they are just as vital as any other part of the publishing process. 

So, when you’re starting a book publishing company and gearing up to get that first book on the market, it’s important to talk to a legal expert beforehand to make sure you have all your bases covered. 

Can You Self Publish A Book?

Perhaps you’re an author looking to publish your own book. Getting a publishing deal isn’t necessarily easy, so a lot of authors have turned to self publishing, which is entirely possible. Even if you’re thinking of self publishing your own work, starting your own publishing company is still something you might consider. Taking the legal process seriously and utilising the right legal instruments gives you a better chance of protecting your work.  

How To Start A Book Publishing Company

Now that you’ve decided you want to go ahead and launch your very own publishing company, where do you start? The answer is, by getting your publishing company registered. 

To register a company in Australia, it’s a wise idea to get the help of a legal expert. Registering a company can be somewhat of a complex process, as there’s a number of rules and regulations you need to follow. As the owner of a publishing company, you will also be expected to comply with particular ongoing obligations that come with running a company. As such, talking to a legal expert can help you better understand your responsibilities and get everything set up right. 

The process for registering a company involves a number of steps. Essentially, you need to sort out a few important details, such as shareholders, directors and company governance. You will then need to register your company through an online application with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). After that, you’ll need to go ahead and get an Australian Business Number (ABN), register your company name and apply for taxes. 

You can read about the process of registering a company in more detail in our article: Steps To Incorporate Your Small Business In Australia

Is It Necessary To Register As A Company For Publishing? 

There’s no strict obligation to register as a company. However, registering as a company is generally the wiser option. A company can offer you a lot more legal protection, as it’s a legal entity on its own – which limits your personal liability. A company structure is also better for future growth and expansion opportunities. 

So, if book publishing is a serious business endeavor then we recommend going the route of setting up a company. It may be a bit more time consuming and complex than other business legal structures, such as a sole trader. Nonetheless, registering as a company has many benefits that usually outweigh the potential drawbacks.  

What Other Legal Considerations Are There For Starting A Publishing Company? 

Factoring in the relevant legal considerations that apply to your publishing company will be a determining factor in your company’s success. Therefore, it’s crucial to be aware of any legal implications and be prepared for them. 

We’ve listed some of the key legal considerations that might come with starting your own booking publishing company below. 

Intellectual Property And Copyright

When you’re publishing books, it’s important to be familiar with how intellectual property (IP)and copyright law works. The definition of IP is pretty broad – it essentially constitutes anything that is created from the mind and is usually intangible. Copyright on the other hand recognises that the creator of an original work is the only one that has the right to utilise that work for commercial purposes. 

For a book publishing company, both intellectual property and copyright are going to be constant legal considerations. You’ll need to seek permission from your authors to be able to publish their work. Ensuring you have the right agreements, like a Copyright License in effect is crucial. 

As a company, you might have intellectual property you need to protect, such as a Trade Mark as well as resources and materials that belong to the company. As such, it’s important to talk to an expert in IP and discuss the best options for protecting your IP. Remember, IP and copyright are crucial legal considerations. However, if you don’t take the steps to protect your materials, then it can be hard to secure your rights after something has gone wrong. It’s always better to be proactive and safeguard what’s yours from the start. 

Contracts And Other Legal Agreements 

Contracts keep a company secured. Starting a booking publishing company means you’ll have agreements with printers, distributors, employees and more. Agreeing on things verbally is never a good idea, especially in business. Instead, getting the right contracts and legal agreements in place can protect both you and the other party. A few legal agreements you may want to consider getting include:

Your business practices will determine which agreements are going to be required, so it’s best to chat with a legal expert so they can guide you in the right direction. 

Data And Privacy 

There’s a good chance you’ll be utilising technology to manage your business operations. This is great and more often than not, required in order to be efficient. Although, it’s necessary to be aware of your obligations under Data and Privacy regulations. 

For example, if your company’s website is going to be collecting information from its users, then you’ll need to have a Privacy Policy in place. If you’ll be storing any kind of data about clients, partners or customers, then it’s vital to be prepared in case of a breach. Legal instruments such as a Data Breach Response Plan can help put together a system of action, which can help in limiting your liability in case there is a breach. 

Getting in touch with an expert in Data and Privacy is the best way to figure out what legal instruments you’ll be needing to take care of your legal obligations, so reach out to us today. 

Next Steps 

Starting a book publishing company is an exciting business venture. However, like any business – it does come with its share of legal considerations. It’s good to have the help of a legal expert when sorting through the legal aspects of starting a booking publishing company. That way, you can have proper guidance and make the right choices to protect your company. To summarise what we’ve discussed: 

  • Starting a book publishing company requires addressing legal aspects first
  • Self-publishing authors should also consider legal processes and instruments to protect their work 
  • To start a book publishing company, the first step is to register the company, a process that involves various details and obligations 
  • While not mandatory, registering as a company provides legal protection and supports future growth for publishing endeavors 
  • Key legal considerations for a book publishing company include intellectual property and copyright, contracts as well as data and privacy regulations
  • Seeking legal expertise is recommended to navigate legal complexities and safeguard the company’s interests

If you would like a consultation on starting a book publishing company, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

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