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View Full Version : Does an author need a biz license to sell his/her own books?



deannamari
06-26-2009, 12:08 AM
I apologize if this is covered elsewhere on this forum, but I couldn't find it. My novel -- which comes out July 7 -- will be available at all major booksellsers, but I'll be attending many festivals and events where I'd like to make the books available and the only way to do that might be to sell it myself. Anyone know what the rules are?
Thanks in advance...

ResearchGuy
06-26-2009, 12:15 AM
I apologize if this is covered elsewhere on this forum, but I couldn't find it. My novel -- which comes out July 7 -- will be available at all major booksellsers, but I'll be attending many festivals and events where I'd like to make the books available and the only way to do that might be to sell it myself. Anyone know what the rules are?
Thanks in advance...

In California, you will need to complete the paperwork to collect and remit sales tax to the CA State Board of Equalization if you are actually selling the books (on which, congratulations, by the way). Simple process, no cost for the seller's permit.

You might need a local business license. That depends on your local jurisdiction.

CA Secretary of State's Office has online information for startup businesses (http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/resources.htm).

SCORE (http://www.score.org/index.html) can also be helpful.

--Ken

deannamari
06-26-2009, 03:02 AM
Thanks for the quick reply, ResearchGuy. I live in CA, so it looks like I do need a license... Ugh, not looking forward to all that paperwork

ResearchGuy
06-26-2009, 03:35 AM
Thanks for the quick reply, ResearchGuy. I live in CA, so it looks like I do need a license... Ugh, not looking forward to all that paperwork
It is not that bad. BOE has a form online, I believe, and helpful people who actually answer the phone. Keep good records, and the annual filing/payment is pretty simple.

Business license will cost you probably a couple of hundred dollars IF you need it (maybe less -- mine is now $50/year). Maybe you don't, but that gets into a legal question I am not qualified to answer. In my case, I knew before I started the business that I'd be selling services, so I went to City Hall and got a license (and for good measure joined the Chamber of Commerce, which would probably not serve your purposes).

You'll also have to file business income and expense info. on Schedule C of your federal income tax return. But as a writer, you'd have to do that anyway, and maybe already do so.

--Ken