O’Brien presses ahead in publishing

Author Will Sliney with Cú Chulainn, hero of his graphic novel Celtic Warrior, which is published by O’Brien Press

Author Will Sliney with Cú Chulainn, hero of his graphic novel Celtic Warrior, which is published by O’Brien Press

Fri, May 10, 2013, 01:01

Irish-owned O’Brien Press appears to be weathering the recession fairly effectively, based on the most recent figures for the publishing house.

Accounts for 2012 show that the company’s profit and loss account was in the black by €355,078 at the end of the year, up from the €345,784 recorded 12 months previously.

Ivan O’Brien, the family-owned publisher’s managing director and son of its founder, Michael, says he was “very happy” with the 2012 performance, which was delivered in the context of the retail Irish book market declining by some 15 per cent year on year.

International presence
This pressure has seen the company draw more than ever before on its international presence, which is focused on rights licensing.

The company holds licences for most of its authors’ world rights, which can lead to dividends in the event of TV rights being purchased, or books being translated into other languages.

“It’s a way of generating extra income from existing books,” says O’Brien. At the moment, the company has roughly 500 live international contracts, with highlights including Alice Taylor’s works and the back catalogue of comedian Brendan O’Carroll, who is apparently very popular in Italy.

Alice Taylor came into the O’Brien fold via the company’s 2011 acquisition of Dingle-based Brandon Books, a deal that also brought the company together with Sam Millar.

O’Brien is more than pleased with both authors.

He says the business is evolving into the e-books arena, although the sector didn’t have much impact on last year’s figures.

“E-books will be much bigger in 2013,” he says.