The Book Trade ready to deliver the National Year of Reading

29 Nov 2007

'The latest developments within the book trade in Wales have set the scene for a successful National Year of Reading in Wales next year,' said Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, Director of the Books Council, as she addressed the Council's AGM at Aberystwyth.

The last National Year of Reading campaign in Wales was held ten years ago in 1998 and succeeded in highlighting the importance of literary skills and promoting the pleasure of reading. The Welsh Assembly Government has once again invited the Books Council to spearhead the campaign and to work closely with a number of key educational partners, the book trade, various organisations, as well as the private and voluntary sectors.

'It's a great privilege for the Books Council to have been asked to lead the campaign,' said Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, 'and we look forward to working with a host of partners to highlight the importance of books and to promote an interest in reading.'

Gwerfyl Pierce Jones emphasised that a number of major developments had taken place within the book trade since the last Year of Reading, including broadening the range of books available and the higher standards of production and promotion.

While referring to some of the latest developments, she noted that the Council's Sales and Marketing team had been re-organised to secure the best possible coverage for books from Wales and a new Information Services Department established to ensure accurate and up-to-the-minute information about the publications.

One significant result of these developments was an increase of 10% in book sales during the last financial year.

'We are indebted to the publishers for their commitment to the book trade,' she added, 'and the increase in sales is a sure sign of the quality and range of the attractive and popular books produced. The presentation of the Publishing Trade Awards at the beginning of November was a perfect opportunity to honour many of these publishers.'

She referred to the importance of the network of independent bookshops in Wales, which are the backbone of the industry, as well as congratulating Borders on opening a major store in the centre of Cardiff. The bookstore was opened in the presence of Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM, the Minister for Heritage.

Professor M. Wynn Thomas, Chair of the Welsh Books Council, added, 'It was a year of significant developments for the Books Council, and with the support of the Welsh Assembly Government the book trade will continue to flourish and produce books of quality for the readers. We can be proud that the increased interest in books from Wales, in both languages, is a sign of the new confidence in our literary heritage.'

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