Day: December 17, 2010

Some Sad News

I’ve just heard that an author I worked with at Mercier Press, Dermot Walsh passed away this week.

Dermot was a fascinating and interesting man who talked with passion about his subject, in this case the intriguing and bizarre murder of Nurse Catherine Cooper by Michael Manning in Limerick city in 1950s.

For me he encapsulated much of what it is to be an author of a book on a specific topic. He was like many of his peers, gripped by a subject and unable to let it go until he had dug as deeply into it as he could. The resulting book, Beneath Cannock’s Clock, is here and is well worth a read.

I’ve no doubt he will be missed terribly by those he leaves behind and I hope they can find some comfort in the days and months ahead.

Making Things Happen: The IPN Premium Annual Report On Irish Publishing

This series is designed to talk about some of the things I’ve been lucky/crazy/happy to get shipped (as Seth Godin might put it) in the last few months. The first post talked about The Irish Story’s first five Apps. This post is going to talk about the IPN Premium Annual Report On Irish Publishing. It might be a little long.

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Where it came from
I suppose I should say that IPN Premium is the paid for imprint of Irish Publishing News, the industry website I run that covers Irish publishing news, features and stories. The idea behind the site was to create a resource for the Irish publishing community. I have another post coming about the site itself, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

IPN Premium then comes from a realisation that Irish publishing, as distinct from other industries, is poorly served by business intelligence and business advice. There is little in the way of market resources with the exception of Nieslen’s impressive but flawed Bookscan service for the Irish Consumer Market. I say flawed because while the most comprehensive analysis available, it covers a debatable portion of the market from 60-75% depending on whose figures you accept. I wanted to change that.

The Irish bookselling industry is worth somewhere in the region of €200 million and has sales of around 18-20 million units a year. That’s not small beer, the industry shouldn’t be relying on guesses, educated or not, about industry information.

What’s more, with the approach of digital publishing and the likelihood that a portion of those sales will shift online into purely digital form over the next five years, it would be crazy not to have a dedicated source of professional information for publishers, booksellers and authors to work from.

The Report itself
So I set to creating the first product, the IPN Premium Annual Report on Irish Publishing which is, at over 30 pages, longer than I intended and filled with more information than I realised it could possibly hold.

It is also reasonably priced because while all that I’ve said above remains true, many smaller publishers don’t have large resources available to them to buy reports.

If you haven’t bought it, and you find publishing interesting you can do so by clicking here.

Over the next few years, the report will gain features, and several aspects of it will change, but I’m very pleased with the first iteration and I hope those who have bought it are too.

There is much more to come from IPN Premium and indeed from Irish Publishing News itself, but for now, I’m just enjoying the sales as they come and hoping that those who buy it, find it as useful as I intend.
Eoin

LitNet NI Literature Forum, Belfast

On Wednesday I spoke at an inspiring event, the LitNet NI Literature Forum in Belfast. It was hosted by the Arts Council Of Northern Ireland and organised by Catherine McInerney of LitNet NI.

It brings together an amazing range of voices and opinions from the literary and publishing sectors in Northern Ireland, from agents to writers, arts officers to librarians, with a good sprinkling of organisers, poets, publishers and academics.

There was a great energy in the room and while the forum is ony a few months old, it seems to have a real head of steam. My read on the future was that it was secure. It seems ready to grow beyond its original founding and beyond indeed the LitNet NI beginnings into a truly inclusive voice for the literary & commercial publishing and reading sector in Norther Ireland.

So you can see why I found it inspiring, but there’s more.

The same day and the same event was the venue for the sectoral launch of PublishingNI a new company dedicated to promoting and growing Northern Irish publishing and writing.

There’s a real energy and passion at work in Northern Irish publishing sector right now and I was excited and pleased to be part of it.

As for what I spoke about, well I started off with a dispassionate overview of how digital publishing and distribution were fundamentally reshaping the world of books and literature, changing models we have come to see as ‘the right way’ of doing things. I got a little carried away towards the end of the talk and discussed the need for a concerted response from the entire reading and writing sector to the encroachment of technology firms intent and leading the sector in a direction of their choosing. Maybe it was in the air.

But then again, maybe it was a bit intemperate, but it’s not untrue.
Eoin