Bumper sales by Irish authors drive profits at Irish arm of bookseller Waterstones

Hodges & Figgis confirm Claire Keegan as best-selling author for 2021/22
Bumper sales by Irish authors drive profits at Irish arm of bookseller Waterstones

Gordon Deegan

Bumpers book sales by Irish writers, Claire Keegan, Sally Rooney, Fintan O'Toole and Diarmaid Ferriter contributed to pre-tax profits last year at the Irish arm of bookseller, Waterstones more than tripling to €3.8 million.

New accounts filed by Waterstones Booksellers Ireland Ltd show that the firm recorded the jump in profits as revenues almost doubled from €6.3m to €12.13m in the 53 weeks to the end of April 30th last.

Hodges & Figgis on Dublin's Dawson Street is Waterstones' flagship store here and a store spokesman confirmed that Claire Keegan's Small Things Like These was the best-selling book in the 12 months under review at the outlet.

The Hodges & Figgis spokesman said overall since the end of April last year “sales have been excellent”.

He said that in the year under review in the accounts “we were resilient. We did very well. There were brilliant books on sale. Of course that helps and solid book-selling also helps.”

Irish authors

Providing the top eight bestsellers at Hodges & Figgis during the year under review, the spokesman said that six of the authors are Irish.

He said: “As a bookshop we make sure that Irish authors are well represented.”

The spokesman said that the top four bestsellers were all Irish with the store’s best-selling book during the year was Claire Keegan’s ‘Small Things like These’ followed by Sally Rooney's - Beautiful World Where Are You; Fintan O'Toole’s 'We Don’t Know Ourselves' and Diarmaid Ferriter's Irish Civil War history ‘Between Two Hells'. US author’s Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles was ranked 5th in the bestsellers’ list followed by Booker winner, Damon Galgut's The Promise.

The spokesman said that Maureen Gaffney's ‘Your One Wild and Precious Life’ was ranked 6th in the bestseller list followed by Colm Toibin’s The Magician. The directors state that sales and profitability at Waterstones “improved significantly” last year. They state that the bookseller’s online business “continues to deliver a strong performance”.

Covid-19 restrictions hampered the firm’s performance in the prior year but had minimal impact in the year under review as the Government allowed bricks and mortar stores to re-open in May 2021.

Waterstones’s Ireland - which also has stores in Cork and Drogheda - currently has plans for a revamp of the Hodges & Figgis outlet including a minor refurbishment to the existing timber shopfront.

Numbers employed totalled 60 and staff costs increased from €1.27 million to €1.88 million.

Shareholder funds totalled €20.48 million while cash funds increased from €2.4 million to €5.89 million.

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