Ep. 02: Global Book Distribution for Indie Publishers

Join us as we discuss how indie publishers can reach readers worldwide with global book distribution.

It's time to think beyond Amazon and your local bookstore for sales of your indie published titles. It’s a mistake to think indie publishers can’t reach a worldwide audience; you most certainly can! There’s a great wide world out there, and you never know where your readers will live, so why not make your book available to everyone? Find out all of the places Ingram can distribute your book, tips on what kinds of books tend to succeed in what countries, and how to get your book enrolled in global book distribution. Visit your IngramSpark account to update your book’s distribution today.


Robin Cutler [00:00:06] Hi, everyone. Welcome to Go Publish Yourself, an IngramSpark Podcast. This episode is sponsored by the Alliance of Independent Authors, ALLi, a nonprofit professional association offering collaboration, advice and advocacy for authors who self-publish. Hi, I'm Robin Cutler, Director of IngramSpark.

Justine Bylo [00:00:26] I'm Justine Bylo, the Author Acquisitions Manager for IngramSpark. Hi, Robin.

Robin Cutler [00:00:31] Hi, Justine. As you know, we get asked a lot about our global book distribution service that we offer.

Justine Bylo [00:00:40] Oh, yes.

Robin Cutler [00:00:42] And how a customer or a client of ours would actually make their book available globally.

Justine Bylo [00:00:49] Oh, yes. Are we going international today, Robin?

Robin Cutler [00:00:51] We are. We are.

Justine Bylo [00:00:53] Are we debunking international mysteries?

Robin Cutler [00:00:56] I think we're going universal.

Justine Bylo [00:00:58] Ooh, I like it.

Robin Cutler [00:00:59] Let's talk about why would…and why do you advise authors that you work with Justine, about making their book available as widely as possible?

Justine Bylo [00:01:11] Okay, so I know we harp all the time about you don't know where your audience is, so you have to have broad distribution because you don't know where they're buying that book. And that just doesn't mean if they're buying that book on Amazon or a brick and mortar bookstore. That also applies globally, right? Your reader could be in the UK, or Germany, or China, or Russia. You have no idea where your reader is. If you make that book available to them, even globally, you have a chance at making more sales, which is a really great thing.

Robin Cutler [00:01:46] Yeah, it's a mistake to think as a self-published author that you can't reach a worldwide audience.

Justine Bylo [00:01:54] Totally true.

Robin Cutler [00:01:55] That is something that IngramSpark has definitely dispelled that myth.

Justine Bylo [00:02:00] Absolutely.

Robin Cutler [00:02:03] We want you to start thinking bigger than Amazon and even your home country.

Justine Bylo [00:02:07] Absolutely. We're very focused on the US. I'm guilty of it. We're all guilty of it. And we think about sales and distribution mainly in the US, but there's a world outside the US that we really have to think about. In a lot of those countries, Amazon is not the primary distribution channel, and most people do not buy books from Amazon, so you have to think about how people get books in their home country. For a lot of those places, you have to figure out how they get books, and Ingram has actually figured out a solution for that, and that's our Global Connect Program.

Robin Cutler [00:02:47] Before we get to that Justine, and I'm glad you mentioned Global Connect. For our customers, for our clients that are using IngramSpark today, how actually, do they get access to Global Connect? We're going to talk a lot now in-depth about what makes up our Global Connect Program, what countries are we distributing in outside of Ingram's traditional distribution. But how would someone turn on their book for Global Connect?

Justine Bylo [00:03:23] Okay, it's super easy. Just for everyone out there, I'm going to quickly go through how to enable your book for global distribution. If you have an IngramSpark account and you've set up a book with us before, then you're familiar with our pricing page. That is one of our pages during title setup, and when you get to it, you'll see US pricing that you have to fill out in addition to UK, Canada, EU, and Australia. By putting a price in those fields, you're enabling distribution for that country. We suggest using a currency conversion calculator to convert your US price to that country. Say your price is $14.99 in the US. Convert it to UK or Australia pricing, and then round up to the 99, or whatever it is, so it's a nice, neat number. Then I like to add another dollar or two to compensate for currency fluctuation. That's how I do pricing in those countries. But then at the bottom of the page, there is a line that says, click here to add your book to Global Connect Program, and it'll apply your US pricing to Global Connect… …to the Global Connect Program. Essentially, whatever you make in the US for publisher compensation, you will make for any sale that you make in our Global Connect Program. We make it really easy. All you have to do is click a button.

Robin Cutler [00:05:03] What's great about how this thing works is, as Justine was saying, you just put in your US price, and what happens on the back end is that your book is actually sent in a distribution feed to our Global Connect partners. They actually convert your US price in that local currency for you, and then they sell it. Make your book available in that local market. When they sell it, it gets reported back to us, and then we pay you for that sale in US dollars again.

Justine Bylo [00:05:40] Yup, it's super easy, and all you have to do is click a button.

Robin Cutler [00:05:43] Yeah, so I love that. Let's talk about where we have Global Connect partners, in what countries. Can you name them, Justine?

Justine Bylo [00:05:52] Oh, Robin's testing me. Okay, so we have Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy, Russia, South Korea, India...

Robin Cutler [00:06:06] And the big one that we just--

Justine Bylo [00:06:08] China!

Robin Cutler [00:06:09] China.

Justine Bylo [00:06:08] China! Ding-ding-ding! Whoo!

Robin Cutler [00:06:13] To be honest with you, we have a team that are always adding partners.

Justine Bylo [00:06:19] Yes.

Robin Cutler [00:06:20] This program is kind of…one of our secret weapons that not everybody knows about, and that's why we're talking about it here today. This is a very, very powerful way to make your book available in these local markets.

Justine Bylo [00:06:39] Yeah, I have publishers who put their books in Global Connect and say, I sold 10 copies in Germany and I had no idea I had readers in Germany. Yeah, it's totally powerful.

Robin Cutler [00:06:50] Yeah, for instance, so you mentioned India, Justine. This is a Global Connect partner we added a few years ago, and most people don't know that India is the third largest English-speaking population in the world.

Justine Bylo [00:07:05] What? I don't think I knew that.

Robin Cutler [00:07:06] Yeah, behind the US and the UK.

Justine Bylo [00:07:09] That's crazy.

Robin Cutler [00:07:11] That is something that you want to make sure you're taking advantage of as an IngramSpark customer. And what kind of content?

Justine Bylo [00:07:21] For India, it's mainly academic, business books, and self-help and spirituality are really big in India. Which makes total sense for that market.

Robin Cutler [00:07:32] Yeah, what about Germany? What sort of titles would the German, English-speaking population be interested in?

Justine Bylo [00:07:42] My publishers and authors who have done really well in Germany are actually the romance authors.

Robin Cutler [00:07:46] Oh.

Justine Bylo [00:07:47] Yeah, they do really well in Germany.

Robin Cutler [00:07:46] Oh.

Justine Bylo [00:07:51] Why, I'm not quite sure, but they do.

Robin Cutler [00:07:54] That's really, really fantastic. Another one, and we were just talking about Italy. I know you have--

Justine Bylo [00:08:01] Italia.

Robin Cutler [00:08:03] Italian blood beating through your body there, Justine.

Justine Bylo [00:08:08] I do. I get really good tans in the summer.

Robin Cutler [00:08:10] And the other thing about Italy that some of you may know is for children's books, that's a really important market.

Justine Bylo [00:08:21] Really important. The largest children's book festival is in Bologna, Italy every year. Which, I mean come on. That's a great festival. You get to eat amazing food and look at children's books. I'm jealous of whoever gets to go.

Robin Cutler [00:08:34] Yeah, we do send a team from our UK office to the Bologna Book Fair. That's something, if you haven't researched that and you are publishing children's books, you should look at the Bologna book festival because that's the place where you would go if you're interested in selling foreign rights to other publishers, and you should just know about Bologna in general. One of the partners that we also added recently was Russia.

Justine Bylo [00:09:07] Russia. It's an interesting one. They have a huge market, apparently.

Robin Cutler [00:09:16] Yeah, I'm reading the statistic. About 80% of people in Russia can speak English.

Justine Bylo [00:09:21] That's nuts!

Robin Cutler [00:09:22] I never knew that. Well you know, the world over, people are reading in English. A lot of people ask me about translation. Actually, in this Global Connect Program, I think you don't even need to worry about that. Right, Justine?

Justine Bylo [00:09:41] No, because they're mostly buying the books in English. There's a huge English language market out there. You can absolutely go ahead and translate the book if you feel that it is absolutely dire and important for you, but there is a huge, huge English market out there, and that is really what the Global Connect Program is here to do for you.

Robin Cutler [00:10:02] Yeah, and I caution people about translating their work into other languages. There's a pretty high cost to do that, and you want to make sure that you can support that kind of investment in your work. I advise, and Justine just also advised, make sure that you're doing well in English first, in that market. I would definitely caution people about that. Anything else we want to add here, Justine, as we're wrapping this up?

Justine Bylo [00:10:37] I would say that Global Connect is really important, but we do have print facilities in the UK and Australia. Those are also really great book markets. Our friends over in the UK would love for us to say that, so I'm plugging them. Like I said before, in order to get distribution in those countries through IngramSpark, you have to set pricing in those countries, so please, please remember that. If distribution in those places are important to you, set that pricing.

Robin Cutler [00:11:13] Yeah, and those are really great points, Justine. One thing that we're actively doing is actually signing booksellers and libraries to our iPage program in the UK, and also about to launch the same program in Australia. What that does, and what that will do, is allow booksellers to come direct to Ingram, have access to all the Ingram Content, which would also mean your books…if you've turned on that book, as Justine has told you to do through setting UK, EU, and Australian pricing.

Justine Bylo [00:11:54] Yes. You can always find more information about global pricing on our blog and on IngramSpark.com. Please check that out, as well. We have great resources.

Robin Cutler [00:12:07] Thanks, Justine. This was great talking about this important topic today. Thanks so much for listening to Go Publish Yourself. We hope these episodes inspire you on your own publishing journey. If you're ready to publish today, please visit the IngramSpark website. For more tips on publishing like a pro, subscribe to our podcast and weekly blog, or check out our free online self-publishing course available in the new IngramSpark Academy. Talk to you soon.