Turning a New Page - Developments in the Book Trade in Wales

30 Nov 2012

"As the Books Council’s 50th celebrations draw to a close, the organisation is very aware of the fact that it is entering a new chapter in its history, with an increase in the demand for digital material side by side with printed books," said Elwyn Jones, Chief Executive of the Welsh Books Council, as he addressed the Annual Meeting held this year in Aberaeron at the invitation of Ceredigion County Council.

The latest developments in the field of e-publishing are as significant as any development seen since the Books Council was founded in 1961. We are more aware than ever that we are seeing a change in people’s reading patterns, and in their book-buying habits.

This Christmas underlines once again the popularity of the printed book – novels, biographies and coffee-table volumes – but there are also an increasing number of titles being published as e-books.

During the past year the Books Council has cooperated closely with the publishers in order to provide e-books in both Welsh and English, and the Gwales website has been further developed as a platform on which to sell e-books in addition to printed volumes.

To date, there are over 400 e-books on the website, 75 of them being in the Welsh language.

One vital decision taken by the Council was to ensure that the e-books are available in the EPUB format, thereby making it possible to access them via various e-readers including Kobo, Nook and iPad. The same source of digital books is also available to libraries and bookshops.

During the year in which the Council celebrated its 50th anniversary, several successful events were held to note the occasion, including an event with Fflur Dafydd at the Hay Festival, and an evening with Eigra Lewis Roberts arranged by the Friends of the Books Council at the National Library. The programme will close with a reception at the Senedd in the company of Heritage Minister Huw Lewis, and Gwyneth Lewis. The varied celebration programme reflected the core work of the Council in presenting reading material from Wales in both languages to a wide audience.

"Readers will be very aware of the excellent selection of books available in their local bookshops in time for Christmas," added Elwyn Jones, "which reflects the hard work of authors and publishers in ensuring that there is a veritable feast ready for them to enjoy."

Even though the industry is experiencing a difficult economic period, it was reported in the Annual Meeting that sales of printed books through the Council’s Distribution Centre had increased by 1% during the past financial year – a figure that is a further testimony to the standard and appeal of the books, and the commitment of the industry to serving the readers to the best of their ability.

Gwales

Books from Wales on-line

gwales.com