Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ireland's a Book Lover's Paradise

Tip of the Day: if planning a trip to Ireland, be sure to take in all the book-related items. And maybe even stop in at the Writer's Museum!

Just got back early this morning from a brief visit to Ireland. As most of the trips I make, I like to know as little about the destination as possible and prefer to wing it, since it seems more enjoyable to me. Before this trip, I had no idea Ireland was so proud of their literary heritage (almost as much as their Guinness!). About all of our tour guides had much to say about one of the great writers of Ireland from James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and many more. And even more people went on about tales of two of the biggest selling books of all time that both started in Ireland: Dracula and the Guinness Book of World Records (I had no idea this book started as a bar bet on what bird was the fastest).

Then there were visits to Marsh's Library where readers were locked in wire alcove's to prevent stealing of rare books, and the impressive Trinity College Library that not only houses the Book of Kells, which is over 1,100 years old, but has more than 200,000 old books that were all categorized based on book size (how would you like to find a book in there!) and no other way.

So with all the literary talk, I had to visit a contemporary bookstore to see not only what was happening, but to compare it to U.S. bookstores.

*Interestingly almost all the books also published in the U.S. had similar covers, or slightly varied covers with only a different font or slight differences in the book cover image.

* Paranormal books seem to be just as popular in Ireland. Though I'm not surprised, given how many people mentioned Dracula.

*I recognized almost all the books, only a few looked to be published only in Ireland or other parts of Europe.
* The bookstore layout was very similar to U.S. bookstores. One of the things I noticed though was that 99 percent of the books in the stores were paperback.

* Here's another bookstore, which had a slightly different look, but still loved the Twilight books.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Kate Fall said...

Wow, I feel like I've been to a bookstore in Ireland now. How cool is that!

And I never picked up on the Guinness World Records being from Ireland before. D'oh!

Emily Marshall said...

Kate, me either. You and I had the same exact response. D'oh. I never thought it meant that Guinness.

DeenaML said...

Very interesting pics. I also noticed before you said it that there are TONS of paperbacks in Europe and very few hardcovers. Is that just in YA, or adult fiction as well?

Kristina Springer said...

Very cool Em!!!

Emily Marshall said...

Deena, it was the entire store filled with paperbacks. There were a few "big" sellers that had hardback, but very, very few. Even books that aren't out in paperback here (I believe) were paperback there.

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