Ireland would be much poorer without bookshops, which contribute a total of €132m to the economy, a new report has found.
Altogether 234 bricks-and-mortar shops in Ireland produce a turnover of €98m a year, employ 3,233 people in full time jobs (directly and indirectly), and pay a total of €32.3m in gross wages.
The report ‘The Economic Contribution of the Irish Bookselling Sector’ by economist Jim Power was commissioned by Bookselling Ireland and snapshots from it were presented at the Irish Book Trade Conference in Dublin on Friday afternoon (23rd March), with the full report to be released later this year.
It includes both wholesale and retail bookselling and looks at the direct and indirect benefits of the bookselling sector. It found that directly, the sector contributes €6.6m to the exchequer through payroll taxes, business taxes and local authority contributions, while it employs 1,796 people directly and 1,437 indirectly.
Power said: “It is very clear that, despite the challenges of recent years, the bookselling sector is in good health and is making a strong economic and financial contribution to the Irish economy, with a footprint of €132m and 1,796 jobs supported directly. However... the social and cultural impact is huge. No Irish town is complete without a good bookshop.”
Frank Kelly, chair of Bookselling Ireland, said he was looking forward to working with the trade, media and government to help them understand the “true fiscal, societal and cultural impacts” booksellers make, “and how much poorer the Irish economy and landscape would be without us.”
Maria Dickenson, m.d of Dubray Books in Ireland, told The Bookseller that the report would help the trade lobby the government on key issues such as business rates and rents. “It gives the hard business case for why the government should be supporting us, instead of the softer reasons usually given. I think it will be very useful.”
Earlier in the conference, Dickenson urged the trade to champion Irish books more on the global stage. “It is time more is done in the trade to raise the profile of Irish publishing. I think our books are currently undervalued at the export level,” she said.