TRADE DAY 2022
Trade Day Review by By Regina Zavala Corona and Fernanda Ortega.
Publishers Discuss New Horizons
On Friday 11th of November, publishing professionals and hopefuls came together to discuss new perspectives and innovations in the Irish book industry. Caoimhe Fox, president of Publishing Ireland, inaugurated Trade Day with encouraging words for publishers and book-sellers as she pointed out how the industry had “weathered the storm” despite the many challenges that the last few years brought upon it
Aidan McCullen was the first speaker of the day. His talk about permanent reinvention set the tone for this year’s gathering. He touched upon important subjects like exponential speed of change and urged publishers to be open-minded about new technologies and ways of marketing their products.
The practical aspects of the publishing world were discussed at length by Samantha Holman, who updated the attendees on the recent developments on copyright law, and Sara Mulryan from Nielsen Bookdata, who discussed this year’s statistics on book sales. To no one’s surprise, romance and sagas featured on TikTok are the most popular sellers this year. Some of the conclusions that the data shows are that the book market in Ireland is enjoying a steady growth, largely owing to social media platforms; Irish publishing houses also show some growth in their sales.
One of the day’s highlights was Kevin Duffy who gave an engaging talk about his journey as founder of Blue Moose Books. He listed clear examples of how to market books and helped to demystify the process of publication and negotiation between small independent publishing houses and companies such as Penguin Random House and Bloomsbury. His speech also emphasised the importance of taking risks and the vital role that local audiences and booksellers play to keep the industry going.
Afterwards, there was a panel titled “New Ways of Promoting Books” where Aoife Ruantree, Peter O’Connell, Laura Dermody and Róisin Cremin explained how useful social media is to get the word out there about new publications. They also argued about the possible strategies publishers can use to market their books to new audiences. And finally, they agreed on the importance of platforms such as BookTok and Bookstagram since they allow content creators to give honest reviews about the books they like, and as a result, they keep readers entertained and willing to buy more books
One of the last speakers, Dr. Ebun Joseph, gave a poignant talk about the diversity in Ireland’s book industry. She urged the audience to acknowledge that books published in Ireland should reflect the diversity of the country. She also encouraged the attendees to consider whether conscious efforts for diverse publications are being made.
At the end of the day, publishers pitched their books to directors and producers in attendance in hopes of seeing them being adapted to the big screen in the future. It was a valuable lesson in marketing for the audience. It also allowed everyone to reflect on the close relationship between film and literature.
Trade Day 2022 concluded successfully after this. As Caoimhe Fox put it, the purpose of reuniting was for attendees to be inspired, learn something and meet new people from the publishing world—inside and outside the conference room. Introductions and conversation among publishers, creatives and students from the MA in Literature and Publishing at the University of Galway resulted in a lively exchange of perspectives and ideas—and the promise of a bright future for the publishing industry in Ireland.