Day: December 5, 2009

Publishing Success in Ireland, Part Five, Summing Up

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This series has been an exciting and interesting one for me to write and research. The first four parts are the real meat. You can read them one by one:

Publishing Success In Ireland, Part One
Publishing Success In Ireland, Part Two
Publishing Success In Ireland, Part Three
Publishing Success In Ireland, Part Four

So what have we learned with this series?

    1) Success is a lot more mundane than most people think.
    2) 1500-2000 units will put your book in the top 1000 books of that year.
    3) The industry is dominated by the forces of UK publishing
    4) That Fiction outperforms but is heavily driven by hits (making this Fintan O’Toole article nonsense*)
    5) That Average Selling Price makes a real difference

Have I anything new to share?
I’ve three new facts to share today.
– Up to the last Nielsen figures (28/11/2009) the Irish Consumer Market was down approximately 4.52% in Value
– Volume was up 5.42% though
– ASP was down 9.43%

These three facts indicate a number of unsettling features of the Irish book market.

Firstly, price is driving higher volume, but that is at the cost of driving down the ASP. This is surely putting everyone in the chain under extreme pressure.

Secondly, while there are some startling figures for individual books (70K+ for Secret Scripture for instance) as a whole, the Average Sale per Title is down somewhat (if this figure means anything).

Thirdly, Irish publishers are doing A LOT worse than the market as a whole. Not having full data makes this analysis superficial only so treat it with caution, but I estimate that nearly every Irish publisher has suffered a fall in sales much larger than the market fall. This has been driven by the heavy push booksellers are sensibly putting into bestselling titles, making the space tougher for smaller titles.

In short, success however modest, will be even more precarious going forward!
Eoin

* Also Dan Brown (who O’Toole picks on) has sold, 57193 copies of The Lost Symbol in Ireland so far this year.

Christmas Books Special – 2009 – Part 1 of 4 Food & Drink

I normally run a recommendation post for fiction and non-fiction books every Christmas. This year I’m having a tough time narrowing the field down so I’ve decided to do it a bit differently, I am going to suggest 3 books for each of the following categories:

Food & Drink

This section is an easy choice because three books stand head and shoulders above everything else either released by an Irish company or written by an Irish author. These three should be on my shelf by 26th December if all goes to plan 🙂

Forgotten Skills of Cooking


Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cooking
What more can you ask for? The Allen’s are cooking royalty, Rachel is storming the charts this year as she did last year and Darina brings the years of experience and knowledge to bear in this very handsomely produced tome.

Good Mood Food


Donal Skehan’s Good Mood Food [DOI: I commissioned this]
Donal is incredible. His blog is always fresh and exciting, his recipes are hearty, homely and importantly for those non-professionals out there (Like me) relatively easy. The book is a riot of colour and features some of the best food styling and photography you’ll see in an Irish published book this year.

Eat Good Things Every Day


Eat Good Things Everyday
Carmel Somers’ book makes me drool, an unattractive image I can accept. I’ve not eaten in the Good Things Cafe, in Durrus where Carmel cooks every day, but on reading this, I know that I really will have to, and soon. It also has an excellent, simple and attractive cover.

Sci-Fi tomorrow!
Eoin

An Irish Books Update – Saturday 05/12/2009

Coming into Christmas, the reviews come thick and fast so I thought I would update.

Local History gets a good look in in the Irish Times!

The Derry Journal has an interesting article by Claire Allen, author of Writing Rainy Days And Tuesday.

Oddly enough, Culture Norther Ireland has a feature on three Poolbeg writers, Claire Allen, Emma Heatherington and Fionnuala McGoldrick.

The Irish Times carries a piece on a Faber book on Beckett’s poetry and writing. On Friday they featured one of my upcoming Christmas picks: Hidden Cork. Also on Friday this piece on a recent book on the Fine Gael story.

The Irish Independent also features the FG book. Merlin published Stop The Press! by John Kierans is also covered. As is rising chic lit star, Niamh Greene’s, Letters To A Love Rat.

Eoin