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Word for Word: Decline in book sales a big challenge


First published on http://www.irishtimes.com/

When I started in publishing I regularly heard people say that books were recessionproof and that people would always buy them. That plainly isn’t true. From a high of €165 million in 2008, book sales in Ireland have fallen for nearly six years. In 2013, according to Nielsen Bookscan, the market was now worth less than €100 million. So far for 2014 Nielsen’s figures show that sales are down nearly 14 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Partly the fall is the result of the bursting of the bubble as boom-time sales revert to more normal levels. Even so, the market is now down about 40 per cent and still falling.

Why are books sales doing so badly? After all, we’ve seen some of the most popular books ever published in recent years. But Ireland isn’t alone. The US saw a drop in sales last year as well, down 2.5 per cent; the UK also saw a 6.5 per cent falloff in sales in 2013.

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