This week in Irish Publishing: Easons Reinvents Itself as Culture Night Begins
Easons is to embark on a spectacular refurbishment of its flagship store on O’Connell Street in the epically named ‘Project Icon’. The store will, as part of this ‘reimagination’, feature a dedicated Young Adult section as well as curated children’s and digital zones. The project is expected to continue throughout next year. The move follows some disappointment for the bookseller having lost its retail outlet bid for terminal one at Dublin Airport. It has, however, made a profit of €2.6m last year, despite turnover falling by 8%, to €245m. These are certainly interesting times! Via The Bookseller. To read more, go to http://www.thebookseller.com/news/easons-prepares-flagship-reimagination.html
Culture Night Literary Readings and Events
Tonight is Culture Night and there is plenty to see this evening as venues gear up to hosting a multitude of readings, live music and exhibitions all over the country. If this were not enough, it appears that RTE’s Arena will be broadcasting live from Temple Bar Dublin! Now Culture Night can be a little confusing in terms of where to go and what to see so we have trawled the events and come up with what we think are the highlights for tonight’s festivities!
The Irish Writers’ Centre will be opening its doors from 5pm-11pm and will give visitors the opportunity to add a few words onto the Neverending Story, write a poem on the Poetree or enjoy an evening of literary performances. At 10.30pm, Brendan Nolan will perform ‘Hold your Hour and Have Another – Dublin Writers and Stories’. For more events at the centre, go to http://www.irishwriterscentre.ie/html/events/atthecentre.html
The Gutter Bookshop
The always excellent Gutter Bookshop will also be packed to the rafters with literary shenanigans, including the launch of Sam Najjair’s book Soldier for a Summer from 7pm. Free and Everyone Welcome. See www.culturenight.ie for a full programme. For more on events at the Gutter Bookshop, go to http://www.gutterbookshop.com/events.html
The Cat and The Devil at Sweny’s
Joyce’s much loved The Cat and The Devil will be read out interactively (with gestures!) at the gorgeous Sweny’s Chemist just off Westland row from 5pm tonight. For more about events at Sweny’s, go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/Swenys-Pharmacy-Lincoln-Place-Dublin/123672820988189
These are but some of the events taking place tonight, however, so for a much fuller listing, go to http://register.culturenight.ie/detail.asp?ID=355
Launches and Other Happenings
Lots happening this week including Tina O’Toole who spoke in Hodges Figgis about her book The Irish New Woman. Notting Hill Editions launched Things I Don’t Want to Know, by Deborah Levy, The Convictions of John Delahunt by Andrew Hughes was launched in the Irish Writers’ Centre last night and Irish Academic Press launched Locked Out: A Century of Irish Working-Class Life last night at Connolly Hall, Liberty Hall Theatre Centre. The live and work of the late Seamus Heaney will also be celebrated this weekend at the On Home Ground Poetry Festival, running from 20-22 September.
Beyond the Shore: Prize Fighting for Booker; War of the tablets; Good News for Print in the UK and the end for New Zealand Publishing?
This week has seen many developments on many fronts, not least of which has been the reactions to the rule changes for the Man Booker Prize. This most coveted prize, once contained within the UK, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Commonwealth countries, has now opened eligibility to all English language titles published in the UK. There has been mixed reaction to this with some arguing that the quality of submissions should go up now that the doors have been thrown open to the US in particular, however, many smaller publishers are concerned that their chances in competing with the bigger houses have been more or less halved.
While James Daunt of Waterstones is delighted with the move, Jen Hamilton-Emery, editorial director at Salt Publishing is quoted in The Bookseller today as saying that the changes only work for bigger publishers and that ‘any small house without a previous longlist position has had their chances halved. I appreciate that the bigger houses who publish lots of eligible titles may feel that they were being disadvantaged before, but it was a very democratic way of doing it. It was a level playing field.” For the full article, go to http://www.thebookseller.com/news/small-publishers-concerned-over-man-booker-changes.html
Good News for Print UK
According to recent data from Nielsen Book Scan, the value of the print book market in the UK has risen with the help of an increase in academic book sales. With £26.2m spent on printed books in the week coming up to 14 September, this figure has risen by 3% (£0.7m) from the previous week, and up 13% (£2.9m) over the past month. Via The Bookseller. To continue reading, go to http://www.thebookseller.com/news/academic-season-sales-boost-book-market.html
War of the Tablets?
It’s been an interesting week for tablets and all things competition with Amazon. Not only are Tesco set to roll out its new bottom-priced tablet (due 23 September) but chief rival Kobo are also expanding by appointing two regional managing directors to grow both its European and Asia Pacific and South African presence. What makes it interesting here is that ex-Amazon head of operations for Kindle in Europe Sean Foy has taken the European reins by being made MD of Kobo Luxembourg. Ex-Belkin techie Stephanie Ogden has been made MD of Kobo Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It is a move that certainly points to a real player against Amazon. For more on this development, go to http://www.thebookseller.com/news/kobo-appoints-foy-and-ogden.html
New Zealand Publishing No More?
In yet another blow to the industry in New Zealand, the government announced that school journal publisher Learning Media was to wind up operations (though the journal itself is expected to continue). The news comes after a number of blows to the country’s publishing structures having begun with the pulling out of Pearson Education and Hachette New Zealand. Harper Collins also decided to move its distribution and some editorial and back office functions to Australia. According to Publishers Association figures, about 2000 new Kiwi books are published every year. About 1200 are educational books like primary school reader series. Via Stuff.com. To read the full article, go to