Is it possible to create a company that acts like a publishing house?

I imagine registering a company and contracting the novels I write under its name, and then putting them on Amazon and Smashwords. I would be an author providing the books to this company but also be owner of the company at the same time.

Would such an arrangement have any benefits? (eg. tax, legal protection; this for the UK.)

A concrete benefit could be that a pen name could be used exclusively in self publishing. Since a contract should be signed somewhere with the real name.

2 Answers 2


I think that a company "that acts like a publishing house" but has no other corporate activity is a (small) publishing house.

The one obvious benefit will be if you are successful promoting and selling your own books, then you could take on other authors using the same systems and become a larger publishing house.

Since this question is almost exclusively concerned with legal and financial implications, consult your solicitor and accountant.


I am doing exactly that. I created my own publishing company, which to date has published exactly one book. (My first book was published before I created this company, and I'm working on my third now.) The main reason I did this was so I could create my own imprint, i.e. publisher name and logo. It is also helpful -- I'm not sure if it's absolutely necessary -- to register with Bowkers to get ISBNs, and with the Library of Congress to get LOC catalog numbers.

As to tax and legal implications, that depends on the laws of your country and the form of the business. My publishing company is a sole proprietorship, so it makes zero tax or legal difference. If you made it a corporation or a limited liability company, then it would limit your liability if your company runs into financial or legal difficulties. Tax law can get very complicated, but in general, making it a corporation would increase your taxes and increase the amount of paperwork you have to do with the government.

  • So do you have to sign contracts with the company and store them somewhere?
    – Vass
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 9:57
  • 2
    You mean written contracts with my own company? I didn't. We just made verbal contracts. Which is probably dangerous as the owner is a very unscrupulous person. :-) As my company is a sole proprietorship, under US law it is not a separate legal entity from me, so any contract would not just "in real life" but also legally be between me and myself, and thus probably meaningless. If you made a corporation, then it's a separate legal entity, and there might be some value to having a contract. But the main purpose of a contract is to have an enforceable agreement between two parties, and ...
    – Jay
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 14:43
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    ... unless you're afraid that you're going to trying to cheat yourself, I don't see what you'd gain. Maybe there's some situation where a contract would protect you from some outside party? I'm not sure what that would be, but legal issues can certainly get complicated and weird.
    – Jay
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 14:44
  • I would like to learn more about the steps to creating a publishing company, including information on branding, trade marking, and including other authors. Should I make a new question on it?
    – Vass
    Commented May 9, 2013 at 8:02
  • Sure. Go ahead. I'm happy to tell you what I've done with my company. As you're in a different country laws may be different, and the usual "I am not a lawyer" disclaimer.
    – Jay
    Commented May 9, 2013 at 14:15

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