John McNamee dies

John McNamee dies

The sudden death has been announced of Irish bookseller John McNamee, president of the European Booksellers Federation from 2005 to 2014.

McNamee is understood to have suffered a heart attack at the weekend.

The three current co-presidents of the Federation (now the European & International Booksellers Federation), Kyra Dreher, Fabian Paagman and Jean-Luc Treutenaere, made the announcement "with deep sorrow", saying that McNamee "won the admiration and respect of everyone with whom he worked" and was "an indefatigable champion of bookselling and the promotion of reading."

 "John was involved with World Book Day over many years and worked tirelessly to bring children to the joy of reading," an EIBF statement said. "A local developer, he connected with people and organisations right across the community from schools to sports clubs to retirement homes, and beyond. He believed in the power of entrepreneurship and in the vital importance of engaging in the life of local society. This vision is what drove him.

"Those who worked with him quickly knew that here was someone determined to make a difference.  As president of the EBF, John never spared his energy in promoting the interests of booksellers and championing the role of the bookshop in the local community. John McNamee will be remembered as a dedicated bookseller and dynamic advocate of the bookselling trade."
EIBF director Françoise Dubruille added: "John McNamee led with passion, energy, and infectious commitment. He is a great loss to our industry. I shall miss him not only as a valued colleague but as a dear friend."

Meanwhile Booksellers Association chief executive Tim Godfray said he was "devastated" by the news. "John made a massive contribution to the work of bookselling," he said. "He was president of the European Booksellers Federation for over eight years, he had been chair of the BA’s Irish Branch and served on its executive committee for very many years, supporting passionately trade initiatives like World Book Day, Books Are My Bag and Book Tokens.  And John had also been on the BA Council, representing tirelessly the Irish book trade.  Recently he fought vigorously plans by the Irish Government to attempt to centralise the purchasing of library books."

McNamee worked for Eason Portlaoise. In a statement the directors and staff of Eason said: "John was a good friend to Eason and passionate about the book industry and he demonstrated this through his presidency of the European Booksellers Federation for many years. He will be missed by all. At this sad time, our sympathies go to his wife Betty and to his children Eoin and Mary. May he rest in peace.”

McNamee's funeral will take place at the St Peter & Paul Church, Dublin Road, Portlaoise, Ireland, this Wednesday (7th January) at 12 noon.