3000 to 1 …

Apparently those were the odds of young Shane Lowry winning the Irish Open at Baltray yesterday. Even non-golfers were glued to Lowry’s final heroic battle to the finish. If anyone is wondering where he got such fighting spirit, take a look at Kings of September, award-winning author Michael Foley‘s classic GAA story of the legendary 1982 football final which saw underdogs Offaly beat favourites Kerry in a historic match. Members of the winning team? None other than Brendan Lowry, father of Shane, and his two uncles Sean and Mick. It definitely runs in the family!

World Book Day Fun & Games

A lot of fun, a lot of cake, and a big red bus – that was World Book Day in Dublin this year! Authors like Celine Kiernan, Judy May, Marie Burlington, Conor Kostick, Karl O’Neill and others appeared at bookshops and libraries as part of the World Book Day celebrations. Visitors to Waterstones on Dawson Street would have been greeted by an army of Judi Curtin fans eagerly awaiting a reading with their favourite author! Alfie Green and Little Croker author Joe O’Brien gave a very entertaining reading in Eason’s O’Connell Street on World Book Day to launch the very special Irish World Book Day book (we should really call it stand-up comedy – ‘reading’ just doesn’t quite describe Joe’s performances!). Afterwards, Joe and his fans caught the special World Book Day ‘Big Red Book Bus’ which took them to Children’s Books Ireland for a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party!

Launch for Dublin Book Festival

The Dublin Book Festival launch will take place tomorrow, Wednesday 25th February, at 6pm in the National Library, Kildare Street – come and enjoy a glass of red (or white!) and hear about the great line-up for the Festival.

Running from 6th – 8th March 2009, check out the programme at Dublinbookfestival.com

Several OBP authors have been confirmed including Celine Kiernan, Joe O’Brien, Éanna ní Lamhna, Conor Kostick and Michael Kelly.

Pop in, you never know what you might discover!

Clé Conference: The Burning Issues

A very interesting Clé Conference at the weekend (Clé is the Irish Publishing trade body): lots of very worried publishers (and booksellers: we went mad and all sat in the same room this year!) were throwing around the ideas we all need to consider for the survival of the industry in the Current Economic Environment. The change has been incredibly rapid and, unfortunately, started at the beginning of what should have been our peak selling season last year: returns of unsold Christmas stock risk crippling lots of publishers. The major loss of market share by Irish “euro publishers” (ie not the Irish arms of multinationals) has slipped dramatically, particularly at the bestseller end of the market. I’ll stop moaning now 🙂

We were very lucky to have Will Atkinson, Sales and Marketing Director for Faber, and Robin Wood, head honcho from Anova, present to talk about selling outside the conventional book trade, and developing special products for existing and new customers. Some of the creative ideas were just brilliant, but I do wish we had a country of 50 million people instead of 5, so that you can do a clever “nichy” thing and still make a few bob. Naturally, the subject of websites came up quite a lot!

Continue reading “Clé Conference: The Burning Issues”

So what was the Blogs And Books event like?

A very interesting event. Quite a decent audience for a gig of that type. In truth, the subject was so wide that there were no blinding insights or specific messages to be drawn from it, but a few things struck me. While Blogging is a young person’s game, the audience was older than I was expecting: when I asked how many there were under 25, about 5 hands went up.

Also, while the people in the room were all at the leading or bleeding edge of technology, there was a huge affection for books, from a number of perspectives:

  • They pretty much all wanted to get published in books form, even though they were publishing on the web at will
  • Quite a lot of them already were being published (which may account for the age profile — the people who are still learning how to write simply were not there)
  • The all loved reading in book form: the whole paper-and-ink experience that us conventional publishers hope that people retain a deep affection for, for as long as possible
  • They didn’t seem too put out at the process of producing a book: the editing, compromising and struggles involved

The blogging form is still young, but seems to be gaining a large degree of maturity, and it is inevitable that lots of great writers will cut their teeth on blogs, as well as continuing to use is as a means of self-expression along with whatever other writing they may do. Thanks to the organisers, and best of luck to them all at the blog awards on Saturday!


Change of venue!

The Irish Blog Award Book Event (The Blookie Event: thanks David!) has been moved to The Teachers’ Club, right around the corner from the IWC at 36 Parnell Square. Same day and time as before. Actually, slight change in personnel too, as Fiona McPhillips has been added to the bill.

That’s Wednesday 18 Feb, 7pm.

Irish Blog Awards book event

I’ll be participating in the Irish Blog Awards Book Event (catchy title!) in the Irish Writers Centre next Wednesday 18 Feb at 7pm: do come along! I’ll be there with Sarah Rees Brennan, Twenty Major, Mags Walsh and others to talk about the impact of blogging on books, and vice versa.

As a newbie to the blogsphere I’m looking forward to getting totally beaten up and told that we’ve completely missed the boat on The Tech Revolution, to which I will wittily retort that I have too much actual work to do, to be spending my life noodling away.

Which is flatly contradicted by this post — and so it goes on! Report to follow.

Ivan O’Brien