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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Perry, Esq.

Legal Tips on Starting a Book Publishing Company

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

If you've ever wanted to start a book publishing company, here are a few agreements you'll need.

Operating Agreement

Whether you start an LLC or incorporate, you'll need to have an agreement that outlines the business (for example, who owns the business, how the business is structured, etc.).

Traditional Publishing/Hybrid Agreement

This may seem obvious, but you'll need an agreement for if you decide to traditionally publish authors with an advance and royalties (or even a profit share), or if you are to act as a hybrid press, where the author pays you to produce, publish, sell, and market the book.

Distribution Agreement

If you're going to publish print books, you'll need to find a distributor.

Permissions Agreement

You should have standard template to give your authors for any permissions they may need to get in order to use others' intellectual property.

Audiobook Agreement

If you plan on producing audiobooks, you'll need a standard audiobook agreement for your authors. If not, you should look into forging relationships with audio publishers, who may be interested in publishing your authors' works, and licensing the work (and splitting the revenue with your authors).

Co-Agent Agreement

For any of your client's books that you wish to be translated, you should enter into an agreement with a foreign rights agent.

Translation Agreement

On the flip side, if you wish to translate any books into English, you'll need a translation agreement, which sets out, among other things, the translation fee, the publication territory, and who owns which intellectual property rights.

Work-Made-For-Hire Agreement

For any independent contractors or employees you may have, you'll need a work-made-for-hire agreement that says anything they create in their scope of employment belongs to your company.

There are other agreements you may need, but this is just a start. If you want to start a publishing company, contact me at 914-775-8774 or email me at


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