February 24th #Irelandreads

"The more bookstores you go into, the more you’ll realize how many different ways there are to be curious." - Paul Yamazaki - City Lights Bookstore / San Francisco 


I was talking to a fellow author over the week, he's both a respected author and a valued mentor. He says its increasingly hard to sell copies these days with so much competition from streaming services, whether you're a big name or not.

And he has a point - but only to a point. I live in a small (well used to be) coastal town thirty miles away from Dublin city. The town has lots of coffee shops, phone & device repair pop-ups and nail bars. But never in the 23 years living has there been a book store.

Last year, Skerries Bookstore, over in the next parish, under the wise gaze of Paddy McNeill closed its doors after nearly 30 years and local established authors, and indies like me lost their shelf space. But not just shelf space, but local knowledge and insights into the book industry.  

I recall handing him in a copy of A Finger of Night in 2015 and asked him what he thought. He turned it over in his hands and after a lengthy pause, said in so many words, "There isn't much demand for WW2 around here," - he was right. As I passed the closed up shop last week, I peered in the window and there amid a forlorn pile I could see my books distinctive spine, the books appeared soiled - living by the sea, the saline air destroys everything.

I had never sold a copy in all that time.

I heard recently that the next nearest bookstore, 40 minutes away in Balbriggan had also closed down. So now the nearest bookstores after that are the towns of Swords heading south or Drogheda, heading north. 

I've contacted those stores, inquiring about shelf space and do they support indies? - but they are big chain stores; Dubray and Easons - neither have responded to my emails.

There are small independent shops around Dublin, about 4 or 5 who again don't support local authors.

My emails are hanging in the ether, my phone calls unanswered.

Which brings me back to Mr Yamazaki's note - the industry for indie authors is a very challenging one, but the reader's curiosity (I'm often asked where locals can buy my books) must be maintained and nurtured by Libraries - we have one in this town, but again, people are distracted, have their faces in the tech. So today, February 24th, #Irelandreads will be a day where for a few hours, everything will be turned off and I will visit the library.

Hope you do so too.


My latest book MALIGN INTENT can be purchased here




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I hear you, everything you say resonates. We know it's true because we've tasted it too. Amazon is king. Tech is queen. Books are like horses with too many riders.