Winning Wales Book of the Year gives writers and book-sales figures a substantial boost
When addressing the audience of 250 literature-lovers at last night’s Wales Book of the Year Award Ceremony at The Tramshed, Cardiff, Lleucu Siencyn, the Chief Executive of Literature Wales discussed the impact of Wales Book of the Year on a writer’s career. Following the announcement of the Award’s winners in 2017, the sales of Alys Conran’s winning novel, Pigeon (Parthian) shot up by 43%, and the Welsh-language winning title Cofio Dic by Idris Reynolds (Gomer) enjoyed a 400% increase in sales compared to the figures of the previous year.
The Wales Book of the Year Award celebrates Wales’ literary talents. Some further benefits of being shortlisted for and winning the award include boosting a writer’s profile and their confidence, an extended period of press and media attention, an increase in invitations to participate in events and festivals, and opportunities to develop the work across multiple platforms such as film and theatre.
On Wednesday 27 June, an article was published on the BBC Cymru Wales news website noting the sales figures for the books shortlisted for this year’s Wales Book of the Year Award. Unfortunately, these figures are misleading. The said figures were provided by Nielsen – an international company which collects data on book sales. However, this is only one source of data. Little consideration has been given to the bookselling culture and industry in Wales. There are many independent bookshops in Wales who don’t report sales statistics to Nielsen, and a substantial proportion of sales can be attributed to these bookshops. In addition, a great number of books are sold at a variety of events and festivals across the country.
In order to see the whole picture, the publishers themselves should be approached for up-to-date, full sales figures which reflect the overall situation. In a Twitter message responding to the article, publisher Y Lolfa noted that each of their titles shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year had sold over 600 copies. We encourage the BBC to research further by contacting each relevant publisher.
Literature Wales is privileged to organise the Wales Book of the Year Award, and is committed to its continuation and development. We look forward to further collaboration with individuals and partners across the sector to ensure that the writers of Wales receive the attention they deserve.