The Long Decline Of Irish Book Sales Continues. Some Light Ahead?

From The Nielsen BookScan Newsletter May 2014:

Decline in Irish Consumer Market slows, as Children’s volume sales slightly increase.
The Irish Consumer Market (ICM) has seen sales to 19 April of €22.8m (down 10.8% on 2013) and 2.3m units (down 6.4%). Fiction is down 14.6% with sales of €6.2m (by volume, down 10.3% to 675k), and Non-Fiction declined by 12.0% with sales of €11.3m (down 8.9% in volume to 828k). Children’s did decline by 3.0% in value sales to €5.3m, but volume is slightly up (+0.6%), to 746k units sold.

As I wrote in The Irish Times last month, the story of Irish book sales is not a pleasant one and yet an under reported and under examined one. These figures confirm that continued downward trend and the corresponding fact that average selling price is being driven down in an attempt to stem the reduction in sales but it is not working.

I’m not normally pessimistic but unless the summer sees some stabilisation and the autumn a pick up, 2014 looks like another bad year for good books and good publishers in Ireland.

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4 comments

  1. Are you talking about books in print, or do these figures include ebooks? Do we have any way of knowing how many people in Ireland are buying books digitally? Surely the decline is due to the rising popularity of ebooks?

    1. Ali,

      No it isn’t possible to track ebook sales as a market in Ireland, though as publishers we each know how well our own books are doing and authors, traditional and independent will know too.

      I think while some of that decline is definitely ebook sales. A big chunk is just gone because of the economy, closed bookshops and other more cultural causes.

      1. Well I guess that’s just natural fluctuation and cycles, then. It’s strange, because I feel that people are reading more than ever, and are hungry to read more than ever. it would be interesting to be able to track ebook sales; if traditional publishers volunteer that info, why can’t ebook sellers? It’s not as if that info is not tracked, or available.

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