Sunday 25 February 2018

Annual 'Books Are My Bag' kicks off today with bookshop events across the country

Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Books Are My Bag, the annual celebration of books and bookshops kicks off today (Thursday) until Sunday with events, parties, live illustrations, and author readings across the UK and Ireland.

Super Thursday marks the start of the publishing Christmas season and today 503 hardback books are published, twice as many as in an average week.

The line-up of books publishing today, Thursday 8 October include books by Bill Bryson, Steve Coogan, Martina Cole, Chris Evans, Sir Tom Jones, Andrew Marr and Terry Wogan. Cookery books include new volumes from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Nigella Lawson, James Martin and Gordon Ramsay. Also published will be children’s books by Eoin Colfer, Julia Donaldson, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Pharell Williams and James Patterson.

Another 500 will be published next Thursday, October 15.

As part of the event Grayson Perry limited edition Books Are My Bag canvas totes (only 4,000 printed) are on sale in bookshops across the country.

Lauren Child’s hugely popular characters Charlie and Lola feature on this year’s children’s bag as they celebrate 15 years with a bookshop tour.

There are also big bookshop parties taking place on Saturday October 10.

Nielsen Bookscan statistics show strong sales for books in Ireland in 2015. The Irish Consumer Market (ICM) has seen sales for the year up to 5th September 2015 of €63.5m (up 6.1% on 2014) and 5.8m units (up 0.7%).

Fiction is up 6.5% with sales of €16.7m (by volume, down 3.4% to 1.6m), and Non-Fiction is up by 3.6% with sales of €25.8m (down 1.2% in volume to 1.8m). Children’s has continued to grow, with value up 9.3% to €20.7m and volume up 5.4% to 2.3m.

Bob Johnston, owner of The Gutter Bookshop in Dublin and Chair of the Bookseller’s Association Irish Branch said, “This is a great celebration of everything that Ireland’s bookshops have to offer.

"Sometimes it’s easy to forget the wonderful resources that we offer – from browsing to recommending - there is something very special about visiting a bookshop and discovering something you never even knew existed.

"That so many people have come together to create this wonderful Books Are My Bag campaign; publishers, authors, celebrities and bookshops goes to show how many people still value the importance of physical bookshops."

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