Book Publisher

If you are a literary expert, someone with a love for books, or an editor at heart, starting your own book publishing company may be a great business for you!

Seventy percent of American book publishers are small independents (including many self publishers). Publishing is a hot industry and one which you can make a lot of money with the right books and the right markets.

If you have already written your book and want to self publish it, this business idea will help you as well! New authors have an awful time trying to break into the publishing business and then when they do, they find out that they will only receive a 5% royalty – before withholdings for bad debt, returns, and other expenses that eat into your royalties. You can bypass the big publishers and start your own publishing company. Using new print on demand technologies and Internet distribution, your publishing company can look just like the big guys!

The Internet and print-on-demand technologies have made starting your own book publishing company very easy! It’s an exciting market, you can sign up authors, develop the book layout, develop a cover, have the books printed and sold at online bookstores without having to keep any inventory or spend thousands of dollars.

How do I get started?

The first step to starting your own publishing company is to develop your company name and logo. This can be as simple as the street you live on (Elm Street Publishing), your child’s article of clothing (Purple Sock Publishing), or something catchy for your target book type (Technowiz Publishing). The first thing I do when looking for a new company name is to find out if the website address is available. I use for my web site name registration, they’re cheap and reliable. Visit their site and see if your catchy publishing company name is available.

Once you have decided on your name and registered it, think about your publishing company’s logo. We recommend something simple that can be easily printed on a book spine and still look right. Visit some of the bigger publishing houses’ websites and look at their logos. Most are extremely simple designs which characterize their company name. You may be able to find the right look use a graphics program and clipart or you may want to outsource this to a graphic designer. We use for a lot of outsourcing, something as simple as a logo design should be fairly inexpensive there.


The ISBN is the unique number which distinguishes each book. Bowker is the official ISBN registrar in the United States. Each book must have a unique ISBN in order to sell at bookstores. If you grab a book in your office and flip it over, you will see a bar code there with the ISBN number beneath it. For example, a book I have here is ISBN 0-7356-1485-7. Off to the right, you will also see either a price or 90000, which says that the book publisher did not want the price published with the ISBN number and bar code.

What’s So Special About the ISBN?

An ISBN is required in order to sell your book through retailers. and other online resellers require the ISBN on the book to easily warehouse and sell books. Bowker sells ISBN number in batches. You can currently purchase 10 ISBN numbers for $244.95, 100 ISBNs for $853.95, and so on. We recommend purchasing 10 ISBN numbers to start out with. As your publishing company takes off, you can think about ordering 100 and then a 1,000, and then 10,000!

Finding Your Book Printer

There are several ways you can have your book printed. If you are not interested in stocking thousands of books, you should look at print-on-demand. Print-on-demand is a technology that allows a book printer to print books as they are ordered. For example, a customer shops on for Creative Romance. Creative Romance is a book published by a small independent publishing house which uses print-on-demand technology to decrease the cash outlay and still earn considerable revenue.

When you order a copy of Creative Romance, which we highly recommend you do, your order is sent electronically from to Lightning Source, the book printer. Lightning Source prints the copy of Creative Romance, boxes, and ships the book to the customer. This can take anywhere from 24 hours to several days, though most books ship within a day. The book publisher doesn’t need to stock the books, doesn’t need to stock the book (though in the case of Creative Romance, since it is popular, they do stock the book anyways – we will discuss this in more detail later), and the author still earns more money off of each book sold than an author would earn at a big name publishing house.

Lightning Source

Lightning Source is the largest print-on-demand book printer in the world. Owned by Ingram (a large book distributor), Lightning Source automatically qualifies you for distribution by Ingram which will get you into, well, every where. If you decide to print your book and stock a thousand copies, you will need to give Ingram at least a 55% discount (sometimes as high as 65%) to carry it. If you work through Lightning Source, you can set the discount of your book to any number you want.

Sign Up for an Account

Visit Lightning Source to sign up for an account. You will need to have your ISBN prefix that you registered for earlier to create an account.

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