Only one publisher allowed?

I am trying to publish an ebook and I put in Royal Publishing (UK) as the publisher, and the automated input system won’t let me past, because it seems to say that the publisher's name is used elsewhere. What it actually says on the ISBN submission screen is: 


"The Publisher Name you provided is already assigned to another account on Lulu. It may be a typo. Check the Publisher Name you entered for mistakes. If it was entered correctly and you think the Publisher Name should be available please contact support."


I can’t understand why I can’t use the name of a publisher because someone else is also using that publisher. No one will tell me why, nor will they remove the block, as I have requested.


I have put in three requests for assistance so far, but I am getting no response from the Lulu team within what I consider to be an acceptable time frame.  All I get is an automated holding email, which I do not like.


Can anhyone out there help me as I've been waiting two days so far for assistance.


PS I've never used a blogg before, so if I'm doing anything wrong here, please tell me.




Peter Roberts (Doc)


  • Somebody else has already used that publisher name. You can't use a name for a publisher that already exists and has been registered by someone else on Lulu. That makes sense to me. My publisher is Triffit-Priestley Books. I wouldn't want someone coming on here and publishing their book under that name.


    Just pick a different publisher name.


    (By the way, there's already an established company called Royal Publishing, so they probably wouldn't be happy about the name being used by someone else as well.)

  • Thanks for your really prompt reply Richard.  I appreciate that. You explain clearly what's going on, but I can't really understand the scale of what you are saying.  Would you bear with me while I try to get a clearer grip on what's behind your explanation?  There must be hundreds, possibly thousands, of authors creating books and doing so through Lulu. Now there must be a very limited number of publishers.  So how does that work out? Furthermore, I publish through Royal Publishing (UK), and so do other authors, so why can't each of us distribute books through Lulu?  Could you give me a further perspective on this please as maybe I've got the wrong end of the stick here.


    Peter Roberts (Doc)


  • I should probably point out that I'm just another author on here, so I can't vouch for the 100% accuracy of what I'm saying. Hopefully someone will jump in and point out if I get anything wrong...


    Anyway, I don't think there's necessarily a limited number of publishers. Remember, "publishers" on Lulu aren't necessarily actual publishers in the traditional sense of the word. In (I would guess) the vast majority of cases they're just names that people have picked as they've gone through the publication process. So there's no limit on them any more than there's a limit on authors' names.


    Anyway, all this may be irrelevant. You say that you "publish through Royal Publishing (UK), and so do other authors". Can you elaborate on that? From that statement it doesn't sound as though you're self-publishing.

  • Hello Richard,


    Now I get it. I feel stupid for being so slow.  Thanks for your clear explanation, and I don't need to waste other people's time on this blogg.


    Yes, when I started writing, I set up the Royal Publishing (UK) name, and wrote a website ( , which I have fully written but not fully published yet, for iterative reasons, to promote the name Richard Royal, myself, and any other worthy authors, so that's why I want to use the name, to build up the concept of that site.


    So I still need to have dialogue with Lulu in order to get that particular restriction lifted for me.  That's a separate matter.


    I use the term 'iterative' to describe the process I found I had to adopt to enter fully into this field. First do A, but get blocked because I don't have a B, so do B, only to find that I need C, and to have C, I must have an A. So it's all been a bit of going round in circles. However, by taking the initiative, I have managed OK so far, and have published a few books. Given a bit more time, I'll publish the rest of the site.  I'm quite excited about it all.  I'm sure you're not interested in all this, but there you are, in brief.


    Further to your query (and please remember that I came into this modern eBook and PoD authoring world only very recently), I consider that publishers are quite different from the numerous organisations such as Lulu, BookBaby, and the like.  I don't consider these to be publishers, more facilitating international distributors.  It seemed to me that they provide a really useful and valuable service, allowing publishers such as Royal Publishing (UK) to concentrate on the author, book, principles of what they are trying to do, side of things, and let Lulu see to all the nitty gritty of distribution, etc.


    I feel it is all a splendid arrangement, and I look forward to being part of this new world, even if I am a bit slow on the uptake.  What I find is that, when one has discovered what's what, it all seems so simple, but to a newcomer, it can seem a bit baffling at first.  I won't forget your help here.  Thanks very much.


    Peter Roberts (Doc)


    I will check out your award winning novel.  Good idea.  I love a good read.  : )

  • Glad I could help.


    I 100% agree that Lulu are not a publisher as such, but rather a facilitator that publishers - or, more commonly - authors can use in order to distribute, publicise and sell (etc) their books. And I agree that they do a marvellous job.


    I asked the question because, from what you said I thought there was a chance that you were a writer who was published by a third party and you were trying to publish the same book via Lulu at the same time, which would obviously be a no-no. It seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened on these forums. As you are Royal Publishing there is obviously no conflict there.


    Just as an aside, and although you didn't ask for my opinion on this... have a think about your company name. There are two reasons for me saying this.


    1. There's already a company called Royal Publishing, and while your company name is subtly different (with the UK suffix) you might have problems further down the line if the other company decide you are infringing on them in some way. Not that they would necessarily care, and I'm definitely not a lawyer, but it might be a bit of a pain to change the name now compared to a major headache changing the name later. Never forget Mike Rowe. There is also the additional possible problem that people trying to find you are going to find them instead, leading to confusion in your customers.

    2. A minor point, and one that you might not even care about, is that your publisher name contains your author name. Some people believe it's better to hide the fact that you're publishing yourself. Self-publishing has something of a stigma attached to it, and potential readers can be put off if they know that you're self-published. As I said, this is a minor point and one down as much to personal preference as anything else. I'm sure as many people on this forum would disagree with me as agree with me.


    Anyway, like I said, that was purely unsolicited opinion. It goes without saying that you can use or dismiss it as you see fit.


    By the way, the 'check out my novel' thing at the bottom of my posts is just my signature. I wasn't directly aiming it at you. Smiley Happy. Although, of course, if you were to buy it, you have my personal guarantee* that it'll be the best book you've read this year.







    * Personal guarantee is completely subjective and therefore meaningless. Please disregard the personal guarantee if you've read any other books this year.

  • Bought it and am reading it already.  It's good right from the word go.  I'll let you know what I think when I've finished it.  Thanks for all your help and good advice.


  • Thanks Peter. Feel free to contact me at any time with questions/comments. And once you've finished it feel free to leave an honest review wherever you feel is appropriate. Smiley Happy


    Best of luck with your publishing venture.

  • Papi_SoñolientoPapi_Soñoliento Southern Escarpment Hill Country Teacher

    I may be wrong but I believe two businesses may in part have a common name if both have a clear D.B.A. / L.L.C. in place.


    Royal Publishing might seek infringement damages from Royal Publishing (UK), but would have a harder time seeking damages from Peter Royal Publishing, Royal Publishing Co. of Paddington Station, or Royal Publishing of Worcestershire as examples.


    Statutes in the US tend to prohibit two unrelated businesses with the exact same name operating in the same jurisdiction, because assigning liability can become a nightmare very quickly. I would assume the same is true in the UK as well.


    In the US it is legal to have two different people Doing Business As a particular name, as long as the two different businesses can be clearly differentiated, as in the jurisdiction of base operations.  It is still possible for problems to arise, though a bit easier to solve. One woman in South Carolina had a business with the same name as someone operating in Florida. When the IRS went seeking unpaid back taxes from the business in Florida, it went after the business in South Carolina first. It took the woman in South Carolina some time to get the issue resolved, but once she had she modified her DBA name to avoid future issues.


    Sometimes it's all about the paperwork.

  • Yes, thanks for this Cameron.  There are various aspects of this matter that make interesting conversation. One point is that I already spent time and money acquiring, and, neither of which were taken by Royal Publishing in America (which i didn't find out about until later, incidentally, although that's not any kind of legal argument). Then I set up a website, which would be easier to change.  


    So one point is that Royal Publishing didn't reserve the UK, just took the  


    Another point of discussion is that legal arguments are never black and white. For example, does Royal Publishing America actually do any publishing in the UK?


    From looking at their website it seems to me that they actually print calendars, school books, and the like for sale in the USA and not dealing in fiction novels.  


    Perhaps the most interesting aspect of any argument would be to ask Royal Publishing in America exactly what they have lost if they sued for damages.  One has to actually be able to demonstrate a loss before suing, because one has to describe and itemise any losses claimed.  


    Otherwise, one is into asking a court for an injunction to stop a person continuing with Royal Publishing (UK) if one can again describe potential losses.  


    Furthermore, I do not know this, but I could imagine that it would be difficult for an American firm to sue in a British court, because of jurisdiction problems.  Under whose law would the case be brought? Especially if Royal Publishing America does not have a British Office or similar from which to claim.  


    And finally, it is customary in law for a court to ask what steps were taken to settle the matter amicably by alternitive dispute resolution (ADR) before enterig into litigation.  


    These are all interesting matters that you may like to comment on.  Of course, I see the sense in what you guys are saying, but it'll be a pain in the butt. And yet I take Richard's point that it might be better to have a small pain in the butt now, rather than be steamrolled at a later date.  


    What do you think?  



  • Papi_SoñolientoPapi_Soñoliento Southern Escarpment Hill Country Teacher



    Reserving the domain name for the website is not the same as establishing a business name. In the US establishing a business name can range in expense from nominal to expensive depending on the if it's a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC., or a Incorporation. I would imagine the same holds true in the UK.


    A DBA is the simplest form, where an individual is Doing Business As 'Smith Carpentry', 'Rogers and Sons Painters', 'Pukin Donuts', or 'Olde Phfart Press'. The DBA registration process lets the authorities know exactly who the business belongs to in case there is a need to collect back taxes, investigate a crime, or simply drop by for tea and crumpets or beer and sardines.


    You've got your web domains locked down, the next step (which normally would have come first) is to lock down your business name. Since your issue is a bit more complex you might want to check with a moderator like Glenn Hunt to see if Royal Publishing of the UK (or your preferred variant) is available, then check with your UK version of the Small Business Administration or a barrister to see about going through the appropriate process.


    As far as one business suing another for damages over the use of the name, it wouldn't be the first time. Easier by far to dot your Ts and cross your Is in the first place. Getting dragged into court might seem improbable, but it's easier to do due diligence first rather than defending your position later.


    The term "Woulda-coulda-shoulda" came into use by people who would have, could have, and should have done something first, but didn't and then paid a stiff price afterward. In cases of legal arguments, the legal entities with more money to spend on lawyers tend to win cases more often than people who simply have 'right' on their side.


    T'were it me, I'd go through the steps to avoid a potential legal issue down the road, but that's me.  I'd rather spend a little now than possibly lose a lot later -- being able to afford a 16oz PBR and a tin of sardines once in a while is nice.

  • I see where you guys are going, and I can agree with what you say.  


    I guess my best bet is to look into avoiding trouble down the line that isn't necessary.  I'll keep you in touch with how i progress.


    Thanks for your concern, both of you.


    It'll probably end up being called "Aunty May's tea and crumpets publishing company".  : )



  • Papi_SoñolientoPapi_Soñoliento Southern Escarpment Hill Country Teacher

    Yeah, cause I was thinking of snagging "Beer and Sardines Press". Cat LOL


    At any rate, have fun with it.


    And if you like sci-fi, message me and I'll see about sending you a free e-copy, as 5 pounds sterling can be a bit dear for print.


    PeterRoberts wrote:

    I see where you guys are going, and I can agree with what you say.  


    I guess my best bet is to look into avoiding trouble down the line that isn't necessary.  I'll keep you in touch with how i progress.


    Thanks for your concern, both of you.


    It'll probably end up being called "Aunty May's tea and crumpets publishing company".  : )




  • Just an observation: it is likely that Royal Publishing (US) have not jumped on Royal Publishing (UK) simply because they have not yet noticed you... they are required to actively defend their trademark and you will probably, once they get around to noticing, receive a cease and desist notice.


    Particularly given that both companies are in the same trade, there is a danger of one being mistaken for the other and they would seem from your explanation to have a prior claim to the name. How this is managed between the US and the UK is something I know nothing about, but I would expect there to be treaty obligations between the two.


    Equally, they won't have seen your website as you say it is not yet live; I'd venture to suggest that the point at which it becomes live and visible to the search engines is the point at which they take notice. From previous events, it's likely that ICAAN would probably have to mediate as to whether your website address is valid and again, you'd probably be on the short end of that stick.


    In the UK, setting up a limited company (I don't know if you have such a thing) requires only that it does not have an already existing name registered in the UK. I have no idea whether there is a similarly named company to mine elsewhere in the world, but having received neither contact nor complaint I'm not worrying about it. Your situation is different.


    Apropos of nothing in particular - are you aware that in the UK you have a legal duty to supply, within one month of publication, a fair copy of every published work to the British Library? British Library Legal Deposit



  • Thanks for that Neil,

    I said in my last entry that I would take the concensus advice and close down Royal Publishing.  So I did.  What an interesting exercise it was.  The main work - to which I committed a full day - was exploring the internet to find a word that had not been used in something or another.  Every word known seems to have been taken for something.  I was quite mistaken in my estimate of the number of publishing companies that exist - thousands!  But to cut a long story short, I found a few words that, when entered into the internet came up with nothing, and I have selected a harmless one that is just a colour - russet.  None of the domains with this name had been taken.

    So I purchased a new domain name,, and pointed my website to it, so in the next 24 hours or so, depending on the speed of the host's operatives, my new website will come on stream.  

    I also had my hundred or so ISBN numbers transferred to the new name Russet Publishing. So that sorted that out.  It simply means that the three small books I have already published as test items - all part of the process of getting into your up-to-date publishing world - will simply be closed down and re-published under the new publisher's name, with a new ISBN.  ISBNs are not transferable, but since this was just a change of name and the ownership of the ISBNs wasn't changing, the supervising company was happy to transfer the balance of my 100 ISBNs to my new Russet Publishing. No problem there. : )

    The outcome is that thanks to you guys prompting me, I decided not to risk hassle for no benefit.

    So that little drama is closed. : )

    But the technical problems I was experiencing, were not so easily solved for me, until I got some good tech help from the Lulu team.  They explained clearly what I couldn't get exactly from you guys.  So, I thought you might like to see this small excerpt relating to my problem about having different author names for the same publisher.  They explained it clearly, pointing out that I was mistaken to think that I needed two accounts for two different author names. They told me that within my single account I can publish under different author names and enter different publishers names.  It is just that, as you guys told me, once an account has registered a publisher name, other accounts can't use it. I think that's a bit weird, but I guess it's the world we live in.


    Here's what Lulu tech said:


    "Hi Peter,


    Thank you for the detailed information which may help us resolve the issue. I will address your ISBN inquiries, your re-issuing inquiry, and your ePub inquiry separately.


    1. Firstly, regarding your ISBNs, you indicated you have two Lulu accounts (associated with two different email addresses) since you wished to publish using two author names. If the Lulu account associated with the email address [email protected] is yours, which I suspect it is, then you can publish your eBook using your surname in this Lulu account as well.


    You can simply change your last name on the first step in the Lulu wizard when creating the eBook project. The Lulu account name does not need to match what you list as the author name/pseudonym for the project. You can also have multiple author names used for individual projects in your Lulu account.


    The publishing imprint Royal Publishing (UK) is permanently associated with the Lulu account associated with your email [email protected] exclusively. This means no other Lulu account can publish an ISBN using "Royal Publishing (UK)." You can still use additional publishing imprints in that Lulu account; if you wanted to use "Russet Publishing" for example. I have double checked and "Russet Publishing" is not yet registered in our system so you can certainly use it.


    ISBN agencies typically only allow a publisher imprint to be registered in their system under one person or company. Lulu's system is following this industry standard. (This is the very reason why I wanted to use the same publisher name for my different nom de plumes) (But, in any event, they did allow me to transfer).


    2. It is not possible to remove or change an ISBN once it has been attached to a published project in Lulu's system. Yes, you would need to issue it as a new book. You can retire the project, re-publish it as a fresh project in your Lulu account, and add a separate ISBN. You will want to make sure to update the ISBN on your copyright page as well."


    Thus, I am happy with the outcome, becaue it means that I can publish my fiction novels under the name Richard Royal through Russet Publishing, no problem with that, and I can publish my serious scientific work under the name of Peter Roberts, also through Russet Publishing. Which is exactly what I wanted to do.  The whole thing is sorted out theoreticall at the moment. I will now try to implement this in practice to see what happens.  Of course, I'll keep this blog informed of progress or otherwise.



  • It all sounds as though it's sorted out now. Maybe all this was unnecessary - maybe the other Royal Publishing would never have done anything, but better safe than sorry. I went through a similar thing when I started. My company was ATC Books, which I later discovered was already taken. I'd searched Companies House when registering my company but stupidly didn't search the internet for unregistered companies of the same name. You live and learn. I then had the hassle of changing the name of a limited company and transferring the ISBNs.


    Maybe nothing would have come of it, but two years down the line I'm glad I did it.


    Best of luck with your continuing endeavours.

  • Thanks Richard.
    I'll keep you all in touch with the saga.
    I'm really enjoying The Maya Papyrus. Thanks for that also.
  • For Neil,

    Thanks for this valued hint. I had heard about this vaguely in the past, but now I've published it's real. Much appreciated.

  • PeterRoberts wrote:
    Thanks Richard.
    I'll keep you all in touch with the saga.
    I'm really enjoying The Maya Papyrus. Thanks for that also.

    Delighted to hear it!

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