Publishing is the dissemination of literature, music, or information. It is the activity of making information available to the general public. In some cases, authors may be their own publishers, meaning originators and developers of content also provide media to deliver and display their content. Also, the word "publisher" can refer both to an individual who leads a publishing company or an imprint and to an individual who owns/heads a magazine.
Traditionally, the term refers to the distribution of printed works, such as books (the "book trade") and newspapers. With the advent of digital information systems and the Internet, the scope of publishing has expanded to include electronic resources such as the electronic versions of books and periodicals, as well as micropublishing, websites, blogs, video game publishers, and the like.
Publishing includes the following stages of development: acquisition, copy editing, production, printing (and its electronic equivalents), marketing, and distribution.
Publication is also important as a legal concept:
1. As the process of giving formal notice to the world of a significant intention, for example, to marry or enter bankruptcy
2. As the essential precondition of being able to claim defamation; that is, the alleged libel must have been published
3. For copyright purposes, where there is a difference in the protection of published and unpublished works
There are two basic business models in book publishing:
1. Traditional or commercial publishers: Do not charge authors at all to publish their books, for certain rights to publish the work and paying a royalty on books sold.
2. Self-publishing: The author has to meet the total expense to get the book published. The author should retain full rights, also known as vanity publishing.