Irish Booksellers Call To Re-Consider National Library Tender Scheme
The Booksellers Association of Ireland has marked the release of a new manifesto ‘Bookselling for Ireland’, and called on the Irish Government to change course on the controversial plans for national library tenders due to go out in September.
Commenting on the launch, Frank Kelly, Chairman, said: “We are delighted to be launching our new manifesto, ‘Bookselling for Ireland’. The manifesto encapsulates the value booksellers have for Ireland as creators of economic growth, as employers, as guardians and custodians of Ireland’s rich literary heritage. There is much to celebrate about Ireland’s booksellers and the contribution they make to our national life but we need the Government to both work with us and listen to us in the months and years ahead.
“It really is vital that the Government should properly value the cultural importance of books, bookshops and reading to the Irish economy and the Irish cultural landscape”.
The launch of the Booksellers manifesto comes as the Government is planning the ‘One Blanket National Tender’ for book stock, in September 2016. Whilst Irish Booksellers recognise the economic rationale behind the original decision, this is, in fact, a counter-productive move which will result in serious economic damage to small bookshops and specialist Irish Library Suppliers. The Irish Booksellers also believe it will do damage to the range of Irish published material available in Irish libraries, especially if, as with the recent Academic Books Tender, the award is given to a UK or US company.
Frank Kelly continued: “The Irish public library service is a source of national and historic pride. Building on the wonderful contribution of Andrew Carnegie, the Government invested heavily in new Libraries over the past 15 years, with wonderful new libraries in Dun Laoghaire, Blackrock, Tubbercurry, Waterford, Doordoyle and many others. It is important that such a national resource is used to its fullest.”
“The Library Supply Sector in Ireland contributes in no small way to the selection of best book stock, efficient delivery of special titles and the promotion of Irish publishing for the public libraries.”
“The issue of Government procurement is critical to the future viability of this sector, which is a significant employer to local communities, in cities and towns around Ireland; Leixlip, Sligo, Dublin and Limerick.”
Kelly concluded: “Accordingly, we strongly support a sustainable approach to the procurement of library books that recognises the importance of libraries within local communities, the future of Irish literature in the context of the Irish Book Industry, the future of Irish literature in the context of its worldwide reputation and as such we want the awarding of the new National Tender to be delayed until such time as the Dail has enacted the above legislation as well as future tenders for library supply to be ‘regionalised’, in order to support local communities and the SME sector.
“We will be sending this manifesto to all TDs, Senators and Ministers. We look forward to working with all for the best long-term interests of society”.
Founded in 1895, the Booksellers Association is a trade association representing UK and Irish booksellers, based in London. The BA represents over 800 bookselling businesses, accounting for over 4,500 outlets. 200 of those bookselling outlets are in the Republic of Ireland, selling books in all formats to book-lovers of all types – children’s, academic, fiction, history, biography, school books, poetry, drama, Irish special interest.
The BA helps its members to sell more books, to operate from a lower cost base, to improve competitiveness, to network with peers, and also represents the interests of booksellers to the wider world.
The BA operates an Irish Branch, the committee of which includes Eason, Dubray, Blessington Bookstore, The Gutter Bookshop, Ennis Bookshop, Maynooth University Bookshop, Book Nest Library Supply and others.