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Publishing Risks

What are Publishing Risks

Things can go wrong in any type of business, and a publishing business is no exception. However, the nature of risks in publishing are a little different to risks that typically occur in other businesses. Publishers are especially vulnerable to legal and financial risks.

Legal risks
Publishers face many of the same legal risks faced by any business, but there are others which are specifically more of a problem in publishing than elsewhere:

  • Copyright infringement. Never underestimate the seriousness of breaching copyright. Every publisher should have a very good understanding of copyright laws, and seek legal advice before problems occur, not after they arise.
  • Libel/defamation. Specific laws restrict what can be published and certain things may not be legally published; for example, information pertaining to war, government secrets, and legal cases that have not been closed). Statements that display racial, religious, or other certain prejudice may also be illegal in some jurisdictions.
  • Errors in accuracy of content. These may also pose legal risks for a writer or publisher. Even if something is true, a reporter may be sued if a published statement caused problems for someone, and the writer is unable to provide irrefutable proof of the truth.

It is the publisher’s responsibility to ensure his or her writers, illustrators, photographers, editors and other staff are aware of the relevant laws and their respective responsibilities. Special attention should be paid to mentioning this both in staff contracts and staff training sessions. This is especially true with the access of information that is available online via the internet. It is “easy” to copy information from the internet. But if found out, there are still the same consequences as copying in printed form.  There are easy ways to check plagiarism online, so you (and any staff) should be aware of this when carrying out any research online. Any relevant procedures or quality manuals should also give due consideration to legal issues.

Financial risks
With the exception of vanity publishing, where the writer funds the publication, publishers take a financial risk every time they publish a book or magazine. Generally, publishers have sufficient knowledge of the market to make that risk worthwhile. In most cases they recoup their outlay and sometimes they make a healthy profit. However, sometimes they don’t – the publication fails to meet expected sales targets, for any of a number of reasons that we discussed in an earlier lesson. Experienced publishers are able to overcome minor setbacks but continued poor returns will soon lead to financial problems.

Some factors that lead to financial problems are beyond the publisher’s control; for example, a downturn in financial markets or changes in government policies that adversely affect marketing and sales. In other cases, financial problems are caused by poor business management. Factors that contribute to financial problems include the following:

  • Poor cash flow. Generally publishers need to produce the publication before they get the return. Publishers either need to have ample financial resources or a line of credit (e.g. bank loans or backers) to support them until the end of each project.
  • Unrealistic income targets. Sales, advertising or sponsorship targets not being achieved will lead to ruin. Such targets need to be realistic from the outset. New publishers frequently over-estimate revenue expected from advertising. Advertising income from publishing is notoriously competitive and difficult to attain. Often it requires a very aggressive and bordering on unethical approach to achieve the best results, and for some publishers, this is simply not the style they wish to pursue.
  • Not meeting a deadline. Some publications (e.g. magazines and newspapers) are time sensitive for both advertising and editorial. Delays in publishing can damage a reputation with both readership and advertisers.
  • Unbalanced relationship between activities. If everything is spent on production, nothing is left for distribution or marketing.



The significance of illness in the workplace
Sickness and injuries have many impacts in any workplace. These impacts may include any of the following:

  • Monetary loss to the worker, or employer
  • Suffering and stress for the worker and his or her family
  • Loss of production
  • Cost of repairs to equipment damaged by injuries
  • Loss of material spoilt by injury
  • Cost in money and time to train replacement staff
  • In case of repeated accidents, other employees may exhibit unwillingness to do that particular job
  • Accidents which result in damage or injury to non-company people or property can result in bad publicity and high compensation payments
  • Employees who are not in peak of health don't work best
  • Employees who are stressed, suffer from tension or nervous disorders can be less productive themselves, and cause tension and stress among their workmates.
  • Employers should strive to achieve a good level of health among their employees for all of the above reasons.
Our staff have over the years written a large range of book and ebooks, many of which are are available through our school's online book store.
To visit the book store and browse some of these titles, click on any of the books below:

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