Beyond Tulips and Canals: Navigating the Waters of Book Distribution in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a vibrant and diverse literary scene, making it an attractive destination for international titles. Thus, book distribution in the Dutch market presents an opportunity for publishers and authors looking to expand their reach.

The country’s well-established reading culture offers a receptive audience for various genres. Effective entry into the Dutch book market requires strategic partnerships and knowledge of local preferences and trends.

Key Takeaways:

  • In 2023, the Netherlands experienced an 83% increase in book sales, marking the highest figure since 2012, predominantly driven by foreign-language publications.
  • Reach the Dutch book market traditionally through Dutch publishing companies and book distributors or through an aggregator such as PublishDrive.

This write-up goes over:

Why Distribute to the Netherlands?

PublishDrive’s book sale statistics show a significant surge in book sales across various countries. The Philippines leads the trend with a remarkable 136% increase compared to 2022, followed by Mexico at 128%. Other countries, such as New Zealand (95%), Chile (89%), and the Netherlands (83%), have also experienced substantial growth in book sales in 2023 compared to 2022.

Local market in numbers

In 2023, residents of the Netherlands purchased 43 million books, including physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks, marking the highest sales figure since 2012.

This increase was predominantly driven by foreign-language publications, mainly English. At the same time, Dutch publishing companies observed a decline in the demand for Dutch-language books, as the Collective Propaganda of the Dutch Book Foundation (CPNB) reported.

“It is encouraging to see that more books have been sold in the Netherlands for the fourth year in a row and that turnover is growing for the ninth year. This is especially true this year, when fewer books have been sold in other countries like France, England, America, and Germany,” CPNB director Eveline Aendekerk said.

Book Sales

Readers spent 685 million euros on books last year, a 3 percent increase from 2022. The sale of physical books decreased slightly, whereas individual e-books outside subscription models witnessed a 5% increase after two years of decline.

The sales of books by book publishers in the Netherlands in the Dutch language decreased by 1%. This decrease spanned across all genres, notably in non-fiction leisure categories such as cooking or hobby books, which experienced a 6% drop. Sales of Dutch-language fiction books fell by 4%.

For the first time, subscription services accounted for just over half of ebook and audiobook sales.

Library services

Dutch residents borrowed approximately 50.6 million physical books and audiobooks from public libraries last year, showing a 1% decrease compared to 2022.

Online libraries also loaned 5.5 million ebooks (up 4%) and 2.3 million audiobooks (up 10%).

The share of ebook lending compared to physical book lending remained the same as in 2022 at 10%.

How to Distribute to the Netherlands

1. Traditionally

Book distributors in the Netherlands provide specialized services that can enhance a book's market presence and aid Dutch publishing companies in reaching more readers and increasing their market share.

Distributors maintain established connections with retailers, libraries, and educational institutions. They use their logistics and supply chain expertise to ensure timely and accurate book deliveries, reducing the risks associated with overstocking or stock shortages.

Through book distribution in the Netherlands, distributors can place titles in stores and online platforms that might otherwise be out of reach. These entities often provide real-time tracking and analytics, yielding insights for refined marketing and sales approaches.

Dutch Publishing Companies

1. John Benjamins

John Benjamins Publishing Company is a renowned academic publishing company with a strong presence in the Dutch book market. 

As one of the leading book publishers in the Netherlands, John Benjamins specializes in linguistics, social sciences, and humanities. It has established a solid reputation for book distribution in the Dutch market, providing scholars and academic institutions with high-quality research materials. 

Their commitment to excellence and innovation cements their status among top Dutch publishing companies, helping to distribute to the Netherlands scholarly works that contribute significantly to global academic discourse.

2. Uitgeverij Terra Lannoo B.V.

Uitgeverij Terra Lannoo B.V. has established itself as a leader among Dutch publishing companies with its wide range of lifestyle books, including culinary, travel, and art titles. 

Their commitment to quality and aesthetic appeal has made them a market favorite. With a keen eye on trends and reader preferences, Terra Lannoo B.V. plays a significant role in shaping the Dutch book market.

3. NAi Publishers

Recognized among specialized book publishers in the Netherlands, NAi Publishers offers insightful publications that inspire professionals and enthusiasts alike. They provide a platform for architectural and design discourse to stir conversation within the publishing industry.

4. Idea Books

Idea Books specializes in art, architecture, photography, and design publications. Esteemed among Dutch publishing companies for their curated selection, Idea Books excels in bringing visually stunning and intellectually enriching works to a global audience. Their expertise in book distribution in the Netherlands facilitates the wide dissemination of creative and scholarly works.

💡 More information about other book publishers and book distributors in the Netherlands here

2. Through self-publishing

Self-publishing platforms provide publishers and authors with a meeting point for book distribution in the Netherlands. The expansive network provided by these platforms proves advantageous for all involved.

Distribution platforms bring several benefits to seasoned authors and publishers, including:

  • Wide reach: Offering a global audience, these platforms extend the accessibility of authors and publishers to vast markets.
  • Ease of access: With intuitive interfaces, authors can upload their books, making them readily available for readers to purchase and download.
  • Flexibility: These platforms allow for various pricing, promotional tools, and content types, including audiobooks, ebooks, and print-on-demand services.
  • Real-time data: Access to immediate sales, reviews, and rankings data enables agile adjustments to marketing strategies.
  • Royalty options: Authors enjoy higher royalties than traditional publishers and the autonomy to set their prices.

Self-publishing in the Netherlands presents distinct advantages over traditional distribution and fulfillment methods:

  • Lower costs: Digital platforms avoid the substantial investments and storage fees associated with physical copies, offering a more cost-effective solution.
  • Speed to market: Digital platforms allow for rapid publication, making books available to the public within hours or days, a stark contrast to the lengthy timelines of traditional channels.
  • Direct customer engagement: These platforms facilitate direct interaction with readers, offering insights and feedback.
  • Ownership control: Authors retain full control over their intellectual property, including the ability to update content as needed.

Self-publish in the Netherlands with PublishDrive

PublishDrive is among the top book aggregators you could choose for your book distribution, whether you’re an author or a publisher looking for international audiences. It simplifies publishing, distribution, and marketing strategies, offering a one-stop resource hub.

PublishDrive works based on a flat fee subscription model, which means authors and publishers will get 100% of their net royalties.

With many stores, collaborations, tools, and features, you access the most extensive book network designed to grow your business and open new markets, reaching hard-to-get audiences.

Why PublishDrive?

Besides the seamless process of publishing PublishDrive offers, you’ll benefit from:

  • Multi-format distribution
  • Book distribution to 20+ channels, 400+ stores, and thousands of digital libraries worldwide
  • Built-in marketing and promotional tools to help with your books’ visibility
  • In-store featuring: with PublishDrive’s featuring option, you can submit your books for a chance to be featured in Written Word Media's websites and other top retailers, like Apple Books and more
  • Services like royalty splitting
  • POD cover template generator
  • POD converter

Tap into PublishDrive’s network of partners to reach the Dutch book market and a global audience.

PublishDrive partner network in the Netherlands


1. Amazon

Amazon's Kindle ebooks service dominates the market, providing a vast marketplace with a wide selection of ebooks that reaches the Dutch book market. Its global reach and dedicated reader base make it a top choice for ebook distribution.

2. Apple Books

Apple Books offers a great reading experience on Apple devices. It offers various genres, including Dutch ebooks. It's an ideal platform for iOS users seeking quality digital reading material.

3. Google Play Books

Google Play offers a substantial selection of ebooks that integrate seamlessly with Android devices and Google services.

4. Kobo

Kobo is renowned for its eReaders and comprehensive ebook store, which includes an impressive collection of ebooks. It appeals to a global audience, making it a significant player in the ebook industry.

5. LazyJoy

Another player in the ebook market, LazyJoy, is particularly popular in the Asian regions. It offers a wide range of ebooks known for their diverse selection and ease of use.

Subscription services

6. Perlego

Perlego is a subscription service that specializes in academic and professional content. With a vast library of educational and nonfiction titles, it's a go-to platform for students and professionals seeking resources in various fields.

7. Scribd

Scribd offers diverse content through its subscription model, including ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines in multiple languages. Its all-you-can-read approach makes it a popular choice for readers who enjoy various genres and formats.

8. OverDrive

OverDrive caters to libraries and schools worldwide, including the Netherlands. It offers a vast collection of ebooks and audiobooks, making it a valuable resource for publishers who want to distribute to the Netherlands.

9. Storytel

Storytel stands out in the ebook subscription service market, offering a rich catalog of storytelling audio content, including a significant selection for the Dutch market. It provides a seamless listening experience for users who prefer audiobooks, making it a compelling choice for authors and publishers who wish to self-publish in the Netherlands. The platform's subscription model helps writers gain visibility and allows book distributors in the Netherlands to engage with a broader audience.


10. Apple Audio

Apple Audio, a segment of Apple Books, offers an integrated platform for purchasing and downloading audiobooks, including Dutch titles. Its seamless integration with Apple devices makes it a preferred choice for users within the Apple ecosystem.

12. Audible

As a leading audiobook platform, Audible, an Amazon company, boasts a vast selection of titles, including titles from book publishers in the Netherlands. Known for its exclusive content, Audible reaches a broad audience of audiobook enthusiasts.

13. Google Play Audio

Google Play Audio is a convenient option for accessing audiobooks. The store offers a diverse range of audiobooks. It is compatible with Android devices and integrates with Google services.

14. Kobo Audio

Part of the Rakuten Kobo ecosystem, Kobo Audio offers an extensive catalog of audiobooks. It's an appealing platform for Kobo eReader users and those interested in the Dutch book market.

15. Findaway

Findaway is a critical player in the audiobook industry, providing wide distribution channels, including those for the Dutch book market. It offers authors and publishers a gateway to a global audience.

16. Storytel Audio

Storytel Audio platforms offer diverse genres and distribution to the Dutch market. It caters to the growing demand for audiobooks and spoken word content, allowing authors to distribute to the Netherlands.

17. Apple Digital Narration

Apple Digital Narration is a groundbreaking technology that uses artificial intelligence for audiobook narration. This innovative approach offers a cost-effective solution for producing audiobooks.


18. Amazon

Amazon's POD (print-on-demand) service offers authors a straightforward way to bypass the hurdles and expenses associated with inventory management. This platform excels in distributing English and Dutch books, ensuring broad accessibility to a diverse audience through Amazon's extensive global network.

19. Ingram

Ingram is notable for its wide-ranging distribution network, including the Dutch market. IngramSpark presents a prime opportunity to access a variety of online retailers and bookstores, making it an excellent platform for book distributors in the Netherlands and catering to publishing companies looking to distribute to the Netherlands.

Go Dutch!

Whether you're a seasoned author or a publisher looking to distribute to the Netherlands, the Dutch book market has a place for you. 

Dive into the publications from leading book publishers in the Netherlands and explore the diverse range of books on the market. Leave your mark on the flourishing landscape of book distribution in the Netherlands. We are here to support you. 

Want to distribute your books to the Netherlands? Try PublishDrive.

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