Thursday, October 01, 2009

Great Irish Book Week

Book selling is about marketing, about authors making themselves available to meet their readers and publishers doing promotions.

Beginning next Monday and running for one week, Irish publishers and book sellers are joining Irish authors in a nationwide campaign to encourage people to buy books.

The land of saints and scholars, the country that produced Oscar Wilde and James Joyce and Colm Toibin, is not a land of book purchasers. Economic decline has hit hard in Ireland, and the book business is suffering like any other maker of luxury goods.

Buying a book is a luxury when you're not sure if you'll have a job from one day to the next. Given a choice between a new book and milk for your children, it's no contest.

How about choosing between the price of admission to a film that isn't very good, or a trade paper-back? The book will last. You can read it again, or pass it around to friends. Any time, day or night, that book is there on the shelf, available for amusement or education.

If no one buys books, according to Alan Hayes of the Irish Book Publishers Association, emerging authors have no place to go to get published. What stories are being lost, even now, because of cost cutting by major publishing houses?

Anyone buying one of thirty titles will receive a free book that contains excerpts from all thirty available titles. Readers can sample other works of non-fiction, poetry, or fiction, and perhaps be intrigued enough to buy another.

There's a unique pleasure in walking through a book shop and thumbing through the opening pages of a novel or perusing the flap copy of a history title. Sitting in a comfortable chair with a book and a cup of tea is an experience not to be missed, a slice of time that provides escape from the world and all the worries about how you'll pay the electric bill this month.

Buy a book. It's a vacation between hard covers and it costs far less than a plane ticket.


Connectage said...

People in Ireland are voracious book readers but Irish books make up just 15% of those sold in Ireland so CLEs Great Irish Book Week is a great way to change that number.

I share your love of bookshops for browsing but they mean that we remain at arms length from author and publisher who created the book in the first place.

Thats why we've been working with publishers such as and to bridge that gap with the author and allow readers to have a different experience of the books they love. They can discuss the book with the author, leave comments and ratings for other readers and even have it delivered to their door for free. I think this is an important development in the survival of book reading in the future.

O hAnnrachainn said...

What a dismal world this would be without books.

I'm in favor of anything that would encourage reading, and it's a clever publisher who goes to the reader to see what appeals, rather than trying to guess and end up with a warehouse full of remainders.