Book Publishing Legal Issues: Are You Compliant?

Ryan Eidson  —  April 29, 2014

Image credit: flickr user | cc

One blogger in a state may be able to link to her Amazon store from her posts and get a commission from sales, but her friend in a neighboring state can not do that. This is because Amazon does not allow affiliate sales in certain states.

A self-publisher in Iowa sells his books locally at a kiosk, and the customers pay sales tax on the books. This author also receives online orders from people living in Oregon, but does not charge sales tax to them.

Joe Smith of Texas begins to sell his book cover design skills via the Internet. His PayPal receipts show his business name of “Great Graphic Designs For You,” but he has not registered that fictitious business name with the Texas Secretary of State. He can be fined because he is conducting business in a name other than his own name and has not registered that fictitious name yet.

Did you know about these book publishing legal issues?

Have you considered how your state-specific (and possibly local) laws affect your book writing venture? Are you in compliance with the laws that apply to your situation? You may want to speak with a CPA, lawyer, and/or another professional before you dive in.

One of the easiest ways to be compliant to Internet laws is to have a disclaimer of warranty and a privacy policy posted on your site. I do.

If you do any type of email marketing or newsletters via email, you should also know about the CAN-SPAM laws for email.


  • What will you do in regard to copyright laws?
  • Do you have a privacy policy in place for your email opt-ins on your site or blog? What does it read? Put one in place today.
  • Do you need a disclaimer or warranty posted on your site or blog? If so, post one.
  • In your accounting, do you clearly notate what expenses are for business?
  • Do you understand your tax obligations for your business as per the business structure you want to set up? Do you have an accountant, CPA, or tax professional to help advise you in this?
  • Are you going to do business in your own name or by using a fictitious name? If using a fictitious name, have you checked with your Secretary of State about regulations for registering this name?
  • Will you have employees? If so, what will you do to ensure you lawfully employ them?

Note: I am not an attorney or an accountant. Please seek professional help from people in your state or local jurisdiction for these matters.

Ryan Eidson


I have the unique ability to make complex ideas easy to understand. I am the author of A Couple with Common Cents and live in rural Missouri.