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.