• Singapore Publishing Business

The literacy level of Singaporeans is impressive, and it's one of the highest in the world. Singapore people are always reading whatever they find to read, be it newspapers, books, or any other written material. This reading habit of Singaporeans makes starting a publishing business in Singapore a viable business by providing a ready market. Therefore, Singapore is considered a local and international publishing hub.

Publishers come in various forms, such as editors, copy editors, indexers, freelance writers, design supervisors, printers, cost accountants, imprint managers, marketing representatives, and layout artists.

Aim of Publishing

Whether the library is your home, workplace, or learning institution, there is always a reason why people publish materials, and the needs of the intended consumers drive most of it. Therefore, the major aim is to inform the reader. Other reasons are to instruct, advise, educate, and warn.

To publish activities to thrive, especially in the education sector, it must be part of the library’s strategic plan. Library plans will ensure that the themes, titles, format, and commercial aspects of the publications align with the library users’ needs.

What is Involved in the publishing industry?

Publishing involves several activities, some of which happen concurrently. The activities are creativity, creation, procurement, copy editing, production, printing, marketing, and published material distribution. Publications can be books, newspapers, magazines, periodicals, journals, newsletters, directories, yearly reports, and publishing guides.

Some forms of regular publications care daily, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually. And others can be after a certain number of years, say two, five, or ten years such as reviews.

What Makes the Publishing Business to do well in Singapore?

  • Ease of setting up a publishing business
  • Constant demand and ready market for reading material
  • Availability of literate employees.
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What You Need to Set Up a Publishing Business in Singapore

Apart from the motivation to make a profit and preparedness in terms of having capital, having a business premise, incorporating your company, or hiring competent staff, there are always things to put in place to run a business smoothly. In Singapore starting a publishing business is almost a two-step process because the main things to worry about are having your company incorporated and obtaining a license or permit for operation. Even so, on top of that, you have to ensure other things are in place. Below are the requirements and guidelines:

A fully equipped premise.
You need an appropriately equipped premise. Some of the things one must have are a printing device, printing materials, and printing ink. One also needs printing skill or a skilled laborer.

Print publishing Licenses
If you engage in newspaper printing or publishing within Singapore or if you are printing press if you want to run a business as a press owner, you will need a permit.
If you engage with any of the activities below, you will need permit as well.

  • Distribution or sale of weekly newspapers that have been published outside Singapore if they are 300 copies and above, or if they contain reports and news on current affairs and politics of Southeast Asian countries.
  • Distributing or sale of newspapers from Malaysia

Online Publishing License.
Suppose you are the editor or are controlling any policy in an online publishing business based on subscription fees or online publication. In that case, you are required to register your publication 14 days before you start doing any online publishing activity. Your application will include your name and address as the publisher, company address, starting date, website title, web host, web publisher’s details, and intended content, the language of content, subscription fee, IP address, and URL.
In addition, you might need other licenses for activities such as:

  • Dumping of waste material that might find its way in water bodies or drains.
  • Displaying advertisements in your site together with your content
  • Providing or establishing services related to Wide Area Private Network.
  • Providing or establishing services related to Localized Private Network (LPN)
  • Imitating old designs of Singapore currency.
  • Reception or transmission of radio communications
  • Operating devices or equipment that is transmitting radio signals such as walkie-talkies, alarm systems, and psychokinesis.
  • Operating any device that transmits or receives television signals in any place other than residential places.
Set Up a Publishing Business in Singapore

How to get a newspaper permit

To obtain a newspaper permit, you do not need to pay anything unless the publishing is done outside of Singapore. That will require you to have a $200,000 as a bank guarantee. A permit for one year will take 15 working days to be processed. Below is what you need to do:

  • Submit a fully filled application to the Registrar along with supporting documents.
  • Identification documents for foreigners living in Singapore.
  • If it is a publication from Malaysia, you need two copies of the newspaper’s publications and a valid Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN).
  • If you are a third party, include an authorization letter.

The Newspaper Permit is not transferable, and your permit will be invalid if you do any of the following:

  • Change the newspaper name
  • Change the language or frequency of publication
  • Change permit holders
  • Change the contents of the newspaper.

How to get a License for Printing Press

The license processing is free and fast. It takes three working days for a permit to be processed, and it is renewable each year.

  • Incorporate your company
  • Register your business with the Companies Registrar
  • According to Singaporean requirements of use and safety, set up a printing press, then have it inspected and approved by the authorities.
  • Fill and submit an application form with the required supporting documents such as an approval letter from Chief Inspector if the company’s address is different from that of the printing premises and if you are a third party, including authorization letter.

The Printing Press License is not transferable.

Publishing Business Regulations in Singapore

  • Magazines, newspapers, periodicals have one-year renewable permits. Therefore, it is always advisable to make the necessary arrangements towards renewing your licenses before they become invalid, and your business activities end up being interrupted.
  • It is paramount for all publishers intending to go digital to adhere to the license conditions for Broadcasting, code of practice for internet-related activities, and guidelines on the internet industry. The notification of class license is the basic law governing all internet related activities.
  • Undesirable publications Act. Ensure your publications are not conflicting with the requirements for undesired publications. Printing costs are usually high and having to reprint will not be healthy for your business. Apart from that, you might end up in the courts of law with a fine, revoking of business permit or license, a jail term, or both.
  • Contents published should follow government-stipulated guideless. Singapore’s contents should be in line with government guidelines on ethics, moral, religious, and racial issues.
  • Contents imported. It must be in line with guidelines put in place for any content imported into Singapore.
  • You must proclaim in prints that stand out the advice “Unsuitable for the Young” on all magazines designed for adults.

Who are publishing business competitors?

The media entertainment industry is considered a competitor to the publishing business and a threat as well. This is because media occupies the time of the person who would otherwise be a reader of a certain publication. And it is a threat because it can and has been used on many occasions to distort the truth.

How Is the Government of Singapore Helping the Publishing Business Owners?

Through the council for National Arts, NAC, the government has put in place up to S $ 20,000 for each financial year for each qualified publisher, local or foreign, who is in the business of critical writing in the arts, publishing, or translating Singaporean literary work. It provides Publishing Grants Scheme to ensure publishers produce original literary publications.

Start a Singapore Publishing Business FAQs

What is the difference between a printing press license and print publishing license?2020-11-03T09:41:06+08:00

Print-Publishing License is obtained if you want to print an issue of the newspaper to be printed or published while a Printing Press license is a license you obtain if you are having a building and doing the business of printing newspapers and magazines. You don’t own a printing press in the former, just the newspaper, while in the latter, you own a printing press. 

What makes a print to be called a newspaper?2020-11-03T09:39:00+08:00

A print media is called a newspaper if it contains things that interest the public; reports of things that have happened; any observations, comments, remarks, and news. 

Are publications by the government considered newspapers?2020-11-03T09:39:34+08:00

In Singapore, you do not require a permit for publishing a novel or a one-time booklet. 

Do I need a permit to publish a novel?2020-11-03T09:40:33+08:00

In Singapore, you do not require a permit for publishing a novel or a one-time booklet. 

What are the supporting documents that I need to attach to the newspaper permit application?2020-11-03T09:40:26+08:00

A recent copy of publications of the following issues: magazines for fashion, lifestyle, recreation/performing arts, women’s issues/interests, tourist guides, adult content, entertainment issues, or current affairs. 

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