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Meet the Member: Gill Books
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Posted by IPG

1 What's your company called?

Gill Books.

2 What do you publish?

We publish around 50 titles a year, predominantly Irish-interest non-fiction and a small but growing children’s list.

3 What's the story of the company?

Our chairman, Michael Gill’s great-great-grandfather, was printer to Dublin University and in 1856 went into the publishing and bookselling market, joining forces with James McGlashan. McGlashan and Gill later became MH Gill and Son. The bookshop—popularly known as Gill's—was located on Dublin’s O’Connell Street for 123 years until 1979, and is mentioned in James Joyce’s Ulysses when Mr Best explains that Haines wants the book “Lovesongs of Connacht and that he’s gone to Gill’s to buy it”!
In 1968 Gill joined forces with Macmillan of London, forming Gill & Macmillan. The Irish Times described the move as “a welcome enterprise” and hoped it could be “a house to which the best of Irish writers can bring their manuscripts”. Today, Gill Books, alongside Gill Education and Gill Distribution, is one of three businesses that form Gill. We like to think we’re right there alongside the reader, chapter by chapter from the first book they learn to read to the last exam they take.

4 How's business?

Good, thankfully. We’ve been steadily growing for the last five years, with the blip of an exceptional year in 2015 that we were thrilled with but didn’t try to beat straight away!

5 What do you enjoy about being independent?

It’s great to be nimble and able to react to market changes and trends quickly.

6 What do you think is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?

Being able to cut through everything else that’s competing for a share of an ever-diminishing leisure time.

7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?

Figure out your niche and your raison d'être and start building a list that aligns!

8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?

We’re very new to the IPG, but so far I have really enjoyed the warmth, openness and pure generosity when it comes to the sharing of information and ideas.

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