Increase Your Royalties by Selling Books Internationally

2020 has been a challenging year. Fortunately for digital publishing, it’s a lucrative time. From audiobooks to subscription services, various online formats and platforms for reading books are ballooning. It’s no secret that digital is on the rise as traditional publishing struggles to deliver, particularly this year. On top of that, English-language content is experiencing increasing consumer demand from all corners of the world.

As a team that helped indie authors and publishers increase sales by 69% this year, we’re telling you: sell books internationally. Trust us, it’s worth your hustle and totally achievable with online publishing tools available to you today. Can’t take our word for it? After reading below, you’ll know why (stats for proof), where, and how to go global.

Real quick, have you checked out PublishDrive? Our platform published over 100,000 digital titles to over 70 countries. Start a free 14 day trial and easily upload your book for global distribution:

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Why sell globally? And where?

As a self-publisher, globally book publishing is your best bet in maxing out your potential (and royalties). Especially in a period of financial uncertainties, adding more revenue streams like distributing to multiple countries is a proven best practice for over 20K PublishDrive authors. It’s how they increased their sales by 69% this year.

Check out the growth from digital book channels globally:

PublishDrive's income growth per store type in July 2020 compared to one year ago

It’s astounding to see digital libraries more than double in one year. It’s a similar story for subscription services as reader experience drastically shifted to online means since early 2020. Retail doesn’t stand out in the graph above, but don’t let that fool you. Major e-commerce stores like Amazon, Google, and Apple have been responsible for around 50% of PublishDrive’s international sales each month.

A significant amount of this growth comes from countries outside of the US like Australia, Canada, Chile, Norway, Thailand – all over in every continent. 77% of PublishDrive’s book sales were generated by global markets, as shared in our mid-2020 report.

We suggest expanding your reach everywhere possible, eventually. To tackle markets in smaller increments, go for the ones experiencing the most growth:

PublishDrive's mid-2020 top growth for countries

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When analyzing the numbers, almost every variant shows progress. Look at major retailers’ bestselling categories and countries in Q2 of 2020:

PublishDrive top growth rates for categories and countries in Q2 2020

Study Aids blew up by 3,800% and YA Non-fiction by 1,800% via Amazon. That’s just a few of the highlights. Month by month, we constantly come across global trends to be excited about. From February to March 2020, indies saw a pronounced boost in sales by 20%. Then in April, 23%. Fast forward to August, we recorded a 69% hike in a one year period.

With widespread shutdowns and social distancing, at-home entertainment like books has naturally spiked, and online has become the norm. The digital book publishing industry is feeling the benefits. And the growth spurts predominantly occur in international markets. English-language content has always been in demand; this year, it’s crazy high.

Basically, publish across international markets and stores to earn more royalties:

  • Fast-growing countries like Chile, Peru, Germany, Switzerland, India, or the Philippines
  • Consistently well-performing markets like the United Kingdom and China
  • Digital libraries with an international reach like OverDrive, Bibliotheca, and Odilo
  • Stores that use subscription-based models like Scribd, Bookmate, and Dreame
  • Online retailers like Amazon, Apple Books, and Google Play Books
  • Regional stores that serve its local communities like Tolino and Gardners

How to sell globally? With PublishDrive’s widest distribution

The numbers blatantly show how going global is the best business move you can make for yourself. To prepare for selling internationally, go over these points to make sure you’re on the right track:

  • Decide if you want translations or not. There are benefits to translating your book. On the flip side, you know that English-language content is in demand. Since translations cost more to do, try experimenting with distributing your book as is.
  • Be aware of your copyrights for different countries and stores; ensure your work gets distributed legally.
  • Know about managing taxes with different countries. With PublishDrive, it’s a simple tax process under one entity since we manage everything else for you.
  • Figure out how you want to price your book depending on different markets. Here are best practices for Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and East Asia India.

We’ve pushed published authors to go global since 2015. And we’ve seen digital book sales from outside markets increase more and more. Good news: self-publishing a book internationally can be easy and cost-effective with an aggregator, a company that distributes to multiple places for you.

Here are three good reasons PublishDrive is an awesome aggregator to partner with:

  1. You get the widest distribution network of over 400 stores and 240K libraries worldwide.  Reach the hottest markets we talked about, even hard-to-reach places like China (see list of stores).
  2. You get the lowest costing plan compared to other publishing companies, as low as $9.99 a month.
  3. You get proven tools and solutions from manuscript conversion (ebook, audiobook, and print-on-demand), distribution, promotion, and beyond – in one dashboard.

Bestselling author Joanna Penn started using our publishing services since 2017. Her books have sold in over 155 countries so far. She recently shared how “the global, digital, scalable, location-independent business model is incredibly resilient – especially in pandemic times.” We love that (and it’s true!)

Remember, those selling on PublishDrive increased sales by 69%, and 77% of those sales came from global markets. People want your books, so let them find you. The time to publish globally is now!

All it takes is uploading your manuscript. Start a free 14-day trial with us:

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P.S. Joanna is also finding the online space busier than ever. She’s continuously working on ways to reach new readers globally, adding more digital streams of income. Now you know that tapping into international markets and numerous stores gives you greater discoverability.

There are other ways to multiply revenue streams and boost royalties. PublishDrive additionally provides:

  • Offering not only ebook, but formats like audiobook and printed book on demand. Audio is the fastest growing online format and print is still Gen Z’s favorite.
  • Rising tactics such as co-authoring a book to publish more and quicker.
  • Book marketing your best with easy-to-use tools to send review copies, get featured in gigantic stores and newsletters, run price promotions, or optimize Amazon ads and metadata.

Watch our quick video of everything you can do with the platform. ⇩


With today's robust growth of the market, global books are the way to go. Start a free 14-day trial:

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