Cut-price bestsellers blamed for falling Irish book sales

IT’S A bestseller in shops across the country, but it seems Dan Brown’s new book, The Lost Symbol, is causing more damage to the book industry than good.

Irish publishers are warning that below-cost sales of popular international bestsellers like Brown’s latest tome are threatening our own publishing industry.

Large international book publishers are flooding the market with cheap sales in supermarkets, argued Publishing Ireland yesterday.

A campaign is being launched to stem the plummeting sales of Irish-published books, which have fallen in sales revenue by as much as €3 million in a year.

Alan Hayes, president of Publishing Ireland, the national association of book publishers, said: “Many of our finest writers, such as Joseph O’Connor and Eoin Colfer, were given their first break by Irish publishers before they went on to international fame.

“Without a vital national book sector, emerging authors may never see their work published and we will be the poorer for it as a nation.”

The latest figures from Nielsen BookScan, which tracks book sales, revealed the drop in sales of Irish-published books by €3m in the past year.

A campaign this coming week hopes to attract more people to bookshops and encourage readers to support local authors and publishers.

An independent panel of booksellers has selected 29 new fiction, poetry, Irish language and non-fiction books to promote the best new Irish books.

The list includes titles by Joseph O’Connor, Alice Taylor, Myles Dungan, Eddie Hobbs and others.

Customers who buy one of the 29 works with a “Great Irish Book Week” sticker then receive a free 210-page paperback book, which contains extracts from the 29 recommended reads.

Mr Hayes stressed that Irish publishers now face a bleak Christmas.

“At present Irish-published books account for only 15% of sales and we face competition from large multi-national book publishers who flood the market with cheap imported books.”

The Publishing Ireland chief cited the example of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which is being sold for below cost-price in supermarkets.

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