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Irish Book Publishing Industry Research 2019/20

The Publishing Industry’s contribution to the Irish economy has always been important, from both creative and fiscal perspectives. During the Covid-19 pandemic a survey was commissioned by Publishing Ireland on active publishers in the industry. The aim of this survey was to assess performance and contribution of the sector in 2019.

The results highlight the direct contributions of the industry in terms of various economic metrics such as employment, exchequer contributions and indirect contributions through ties to adjacent sectors such as marketing and advertising.

The report draws on the 77 active publishers in Ireland and Publishing Ireland would like to express our gratitude again to all those who participated. The figures contained in the survey relate to 2019 statistics but, as it was taken in 2020, there is obviously a high level of nervousness for the future of Irish publishing with lockdown restrictions taking hold.

Based on the survey results, it is estimated that in 2019, the 77 ‘active’ publishers in the Irish market made the following contribution to the economy:

  • Employed 486 workers
  • Paid wages of €17 million into the economy
  • Contributed €4.25 million to the Exchequer in payroll taxes
  • Paid €2.3 million in rents
  • Spent €1.6 million on marketing and advertising


While the bulk of the feedback was positive, particularly in employment stability, there were a number of key themes that arose during the collection of data. These highlighted not only the worries that resulted from the global pandemic but also issues such as the increasing dominance of online retailers, Brexit, the collapse of Bertrams (- a wholesaler in the UK for books who also supplied the Irish libraries a number of genres). One publisher noted something that looms larger than lockdown. During restrictions there was a good, healthy push to support Irish businesses, bookshops and writers, which was fantastic, but as a lot of Irish writers are UK published, this message was a little hit and miss for Irish Publishers. They expressed concern that supporting Irish publishing specifically can be a tough message to get across.

Publishing Ireland will carry out another survey on 2021. This research is fundamental to our industry, please watch out and complete it.

For any members who completed the 2019 survey you can get access to the full report by emailing

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