Does a self publisher need a business license?

August 20th, 2021 → 1:32 pm @


I’ve been browsing through the KDP community and came across a thread that discusses how some states require you to have a business license if you want to self-publish. Can someone please tell me if I need to form a business? I live in New York. Are there any important steps I need to take before I self-publish through Amazon? I was just planning on publishing my book in a few days, and I’m confused as to what I need to do.

Thanks so much!  DJ


Congratulations on the publication of your book! Now is a great time to think about your business structure and the details of selling your book.

Most states require all businesses to register with the state, usually the Secretary of State’s office. Once you register you will receive information about other licenses you may need and paying taxes and hiring employees. Registering your business may not be the same thing as needing a license.

Most authors do not need a professional business license. Professional licenses are for occupations that need to be regulated because they require extensive education or could cause harm, like plumbers, barbers, lawyers and CPAs. As a CPA I am licensed in Ohio and can practice in all 50 states.

What you will need if you are selling your books to a wholesaler, book store (including on Amazon), or final customer is a vendors license. A vendors license may be called a resellers license and is available though your state government.

This will be the start of your knowledge and understanding about selling wholesale, collecting and remitting sales tax to your state and selling directly to the final purchaser.

Keeping good records of purchases and sales, and paying sales tax on books you sell in your state are all very important skills you will need as a book publisher.

Hop on over to my website There you can get purchase a copy of Business Tips and Taxes for Writers and start learning about sales tax and vendors licenses.

Carol Topp, CPA

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