Irish Educational Publishers’ Association Survey Results
August 8, 2012.

A recent survey of the Irish Educational Publishers’ Association members reveals strong growth in the number of publications in eBook format. The ten leading publishing firms, which provide nearly all the Irish primary and secondary school educational content, increased their eBook publications from 2.6% in 2009 to 34.7% of publications in 2012. In the case of the larger publishing houses eBooks comprise a much bigger complement of their portfolios.

The number of eBooks will continue to increase and the IEPA members believe that a full curriculum in digital format would help reduce the weight of the school bag, enhance the teaching and learning experience and enable significant savings to be passed on to parents. However much of this is negated by the 23% VAT on eBooks. The IEPA has called for VAT on educational eBooks to be reduced and is also seeking a standardised platform for educational technology in order to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

The analysis also reveals that despite a 25% global increase in paper costs there have been no increases in school book prices since 2009 and none are predicted for 2012. In addition, 1.9%, or 40 titles, of the 2,061 books published in 2011 were revised, contrary to public misconceptions, and in 2012 just 1.4% were revised, mainly due to cirriculum reform, particularly Project Maths.

The survey was undertaken in late June 2012 and analysed by Chartered Accountants Cusack Garvey. Members comprise Celtic Press, CJ Fallon, Educate.ie, Folens, An Gúm, Forum Publications, Gill & Macmillan, Mentor Books, The Educational Company of Ireland and Veritas. These Irish publishers produce over 90% of the educational content, specifically tailored for the Irish primary and post-primary schools curriculum, and authored by experienced Irish teachers.

Survey Highlights

  • IEPA members employ 254 people directly and in excess of 300 indirectly.
  • IEPA members published 2.6% of publications in eBook form in 2009; this increased to 34.7% of publications in 2012. Larger publishing houses have a much higher percentage of publications in eBook format.
  • Less than 2% of 1,715 publications were revised in 2009; this figure was 1.9% in 2011 when 2,061 units were published, with 1.4% of the 2,114 publications revised in 2012. Between 15 and 40 textbooks are revised annually as a result of curriculum/exam change, teacher research and feedback on content and to ensure they reflect current legislative, technological and political landscape. The Code of Practice adopted by the IEPA in 2011 guarantees that all titles will remain in print and available for 6 years.
  • IEPA member prices have been frozen since 2009, despite a 25% increase in global paper prices. Certain items such as exam papers were reduced by up to 25% by some members between 2010 and 2012, while 70 titles out of almost 7,800 titles over the four year period increased by a total of 0.7%.
  • Almost 65% of IEPA member textbooks were printed in Ireland.
  • IEPA members provide a wide range of initiatives to improve the quality of publications including a huge bank of teacher resources free of charge and online. These include teacher resource books, inspection copies, CDs, daily/weekly/monthly schemes of work, worksheets, interactive exercises for teachers to use in class, assessment tests, homework examples, posters, digital resources, demonstrations and help desks.

Further information: Cliodhna O'Donoghue, General Secretary, IEPA. 086-2490813 cliodhna.odonoghue@gmail.com