The latest in a series of articles on publishing by Ireland’s top book publishers, published on the eve of the UK referendum, has found the industry has not been particularly proactive in its lobbying for publishing to be more open.
It also found that there has been little effort to change the way book publishers conduct their business and are increasingly focused on lobbying the government for greater control over what books are published in Ireland.
In response to a query from the Irish Times on what publishers are doing to promote open publishing, a spokesman for Penguin Ireland said: “Penguin Ireland supports the UK’s referendum decision and has worked closely with the Government, the publishers, and the publishers’ association to ensure that this important issue is discussed with a level of urgency.”
In a statement, the chief executive of Penguin Ireland, Paul McNulty, said the company was looking forward to a positive outcome in the referendum and that the company had been “deeply committed to publishing books that promote open access and independence in publishing”.
He said the firm was committed to ensuring that its books are available in all digital and offline formats, and that its business model was designed to maximise the value of its books in Ireland and the wider world.
He added that the firm “will continue to publish in all formats in Ireland”.
Mr McNulty added that while he was not aware of any major changes in the industry, the company would be working with the Department of Education to ensure the book industry was included in the Brexit negotiations.
Penguins book sales in Ireland were down by about 15 per cent on the year before the Brexit vote, and it is thought the company has been struggling to recover.
Last year, the Irish Independent published an investigation into the business of Penguin and revealed that some of its authors had been paid to write for other companies.
The Independent also revealed that the publishing company had spent millions of pounds lobbying against the UK government, and had received $1 million from a political party that wanted to see the country leave the EU.
The company has not responded to requests for comment.