• Catherine France

Are you publishing a book? Have you thought about insurance?

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

Do you aspire to write a book? Creating a book could you help build your business by sharing with your potential customers what you do. You will spend a lot of time and effort writing your e-book, self -published title or traditionally published book, but have you given a thought to some of the insurance risks?

  • Plagiarism

  • Libel

  • Copyright

  • Invasion of Privacy

  • Defamation

  • Delivery of Books

  • Mis-printing

  • Storage and delivery

  • Risk of damage

It all sounds horrific but unfortunately when you publish a book, post a blog or comment on the internet you are exposing yourself to all these risks. But don’t be put off, there are insurance products which are designed to help protect you against these risks.

Here we will cover the main themes to help you get a better understanding of how insurance can help you.

It all begins when you release your work into the world, in whatever format this might be, then someone takes offence and seeks to take legal action against you. Some of the things that you could be reasonably sued for are:

  • Copyright infringement (using somebody's words verbatim, using song lyrics, quotes, copyrighted material, etc.)

  • Defamation (writing false things about a business or person with the intent to harm their reputation)

  • Making False Claims (writing about food or medicine that can actually harm people)

The risks you face are the same regardless of how you publish your work. So, what can you do to protect yourself?

First of all, check your home or business insurance policy, some will cover libel and slander under the liability section if not then you need to be looking for an insurer or broker who offers a media or publishers liability policy.

When you have found one make sure it covers things like; claims and allegations of copyright, libel, slander, defamation, infliction of emotional distress and failure to grant attribution under the public liability section.

“Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that's where it should stay.” ― Christopher Hitchens

If you are working with a publisher check your publishing agreement for an indemnification clause in which the author agrees to hold the publisher harmless if there are claims against the publisher for any infringement or violation of personal rights. This could leave you, the author exposed.


Need help finding an insurance broker? Read my post on How to find an insurance broker in the UK?


Even if you are using a publisher there is every chance that you won’t be covered by their insurance.

It is difficult to give you an idea of the premiums and it would be up to you to decide if you want to protect yourself, but it is worth noting that it is a higher risk (and probably premium) if your book is about real people or involves real life stories. For example, if you are a psychologist and a former patient claims you have used their story without permission they could sue you for breach of confidentiality.

Similarly, anything claiming health benefits or giving medical advice would be treated as higher risk by insurers than a book on how to get media coverage for example. Higher risk usually means a higher premium.

If you are writing on a controversial topic, or are unsure about permissions, you should consider protecting yourself with your own insurance policy and seeking legal advice.

If you are writing your book on a not-for-profit basis you still do not escape the risk of being sued for libel or copyright infringement. In fact, because you will not be covered by a large company’s insurance policy, you need to be especially careful.

What can you do to minimise the risk?

While it is rare for a novelist to be sued for libel, you can do the following things to minimise the risk;

  • Be careful when writing, check facts, don’t rely on rumour or hearsay, and avoid making false claims.

  • Be mindful of people’s privacy.

  • Trust your gut, if you think something is invasive or false it probably is so don’t publish it.

  • Don’t just wing it and hope for the best. If you are concerned, then seek the appropriate legal advice.

  • Ask to be covered by your publishers’ insurance (and make sure it’s in the contract) - it probably won’t be automatically included.

What about insurance for the physical books once they are printed?

You have put your blood, sweat and tears into producing your book and now it is at the printers, so you face a new set of potential creases in the road to success, things like;

  • Mis-printing

  • Risk of Damage

  • Storage of Books

  • Delivery of Books (goods in transit)

Your printer should have insurance which includes cover for the following;

  • Bookbinding and related work

  • Book printing

  • Book publishing

  • Printers' errors and omissions (E&O) insurance

  • Product recall – the cost of retrieving and making right the error

  • Good in Transit

They should be happy to confirm such cover is in place should something happen during the course of printing your book. The printer’s insurance should provide cover for a range of possible events up until the point the books leave the printers.

Once the book has left the printers and is heading to you, then you need to make sure it is insured, either as stock at your premises/home and included on your business insurance or make sure it is ensured where it will be stored and then shipped to clients.

You do not want to be out of pocket if the books are stored at your home and there is a leak from a pipe or roof causing water damage to the books which then need to be reprinted. This could cause further harm to your reputation as it will take longer to send out copies to your readers.


What Next?

If you need more information about insurance for small businesses download my guide 10 Types of Insurance Every Small Business Needs here - http://eepurl.com/gi4-hb

You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Important Note: The information in this post is general and is designed to be a guide to the subject matter, your needs will be very much individual to your business and, as I am sure you can understand, I cannot accommodate that in a blog post. This blog post is for information only and is not providing you with advice.If you would like to book a 1-2-1 call with me to discuss this in more detail , please pop over to catherine@catherinefrance.com.

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