In 2018 the Irish Booksellers Association commissioned a report by economist Jim Power on the ‘The Economic Contribution of the Irish Bookselling Sector’. The report examines the economic, financial, and social contributions of the Bookselling Sector to the Irish economy and to Irish society.
The sector suffered significantly during the economic downturn, with a large decline in book sales and turnover in the sector. However, over the past couple of years, sales of books have started to increase, and turnover is rising. The general mood in the sector now is one of optimism about the future.
The economy is recovering and significantly, interest in physical books is rising again. In extensive interviews with various stakeholders in the sector, several issues and concerns were identified.
First and foremost, all types of retailing are challenging, and margins are under pressure in the face of rising costs and a financially stretched consumer that is resistant to higher prices. The bookselling sector is no different than the rest of the retail sector.
TRENDS IN THE PUBLISHING SECTOR
The book sector in Ireland is primarily made up of publishers, wholesalers, and bookshops themselves. These three components of the sector should be considered as part of the whole and all three are inextricably linked.
The key characteristic that distinguishes Ireland’s book sector is the extent to which a significant proportion of the books sold are imported from the UK and distributed through the book wholesalers.
Publishing Ireland, the Irish Book Publishers’ Association, was set up in 1970 to build a network for Irish book publishers to share their expertise and resources. The association has 61 members across the island of Ireland, consisting…
1) Comment on market concentration in the Irish Bookselling market.
2) Critically evaluate the key market characteristics of the Irish Bookselling Sector, justify your selection of market structure, and discuss the competitive nature of the market.
3) Using an economic model, describe short-run equilibrium in this market.
4) Market power can be described as the uniqueness of advantage, simply having the resources and capacity to make something. Discuss the Market Power Paradigm describe how it could contribute to the competitive advantage of the firm.
5) “To date the only fallout from the vote to leave the EU in June 2016 has been seen through a significant adjustment in the exchange rate value of sterling.” Examine the economic impact of exchange rate movements on the Irish economy.