Book sales up by 20% as feel-good factor returns to publishing

Biggest selling domestic title is The Pocket Book of the Easter Rising, fourth top seller

The book trade in Ireland is booming with sales up by more than 20 per cent to date this year.

Sales up to September 10th were €76.4 million, up 20.3 per cent on 2015, according to Neilsen Bookscan.

The largest growth has been recorded in non-fiction and in children’s book sales.

Non-fiction sales are up 24.5 per cent to €31.4 million. Children’s book sales are up 24.4 per cent to €26.7 million. Fiction is up 8.4 per cent with sales of €18.1 million.


The bestseller of the year has been Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the script for the West End stage play based on JK Rowling's original creation. It has sold 56,300 copies to date.

It is followed by the Lean in 15 by fitness guru Joe Wicks with 40,300 copies and third is The Girl on the Train, the blockbuster novel by Paula Hawkins which has been turned into a film starring Emily Blunt to be released next week. It has sold more than 29,000 copies in Ireland this year.

The biggest selling domestic title is The Pocket Book of the Easter Rising which is the fourth top selling book in Ireland to date.

The sales increase is part of a global phenomenon with physical book sales continuing to increase while those of eBooks, which many had feared would hasten the demise of the traditional print industry, have started to decline.

Bob Johnston, owner of The Gutter Bookshop in Dublin and vice-chairman of the Bookseller's Association (Irish Branch) said a feel good factor has returned to Irish publishing.

Sterling decline

The improving economy meant more disposable income and discretionary spending. “People are returning to book shops and feeling happy buying books again,” he said.

The decline in the value of sterling has meant books are also cheaper in Ireland.

Another factor has been the publication of a number of big titles most notably the new Harry Potter book.

Mr Johnston suggested interest in eBooks is waning because readers like the feel of physical books and to get away from screens. The failure by publishers to drop the prices of eBooks is another factor.

The books trade has launched its annual Books are my Bag series of events for Bookshop Day on October 8th.

The campaign aims to celebrate bookshops and the role they play in the communities, and people are invited to display their love of books by buying a Books Are My Bag tote bag. There is also a limited edition Irish Books Are My Bag tote, designed by illustrator Fatti Burke of (Irelandopedia).

The Books Are My Bag Readers Award shortlist has also been announced. The new book award, supported by National Book Tokens, invites the public to vote for their favourites on the six categories shortlisted by bookstores – fiction, non-fiction, biography/autobiography, children's and breakthrough author. Voting is now open in bookshops across the country and online, until November 14th. The overall winners in each categorywill be announced on November 24th.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times