Skip to content
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Sean with his grandson Toby Ryan.
Sean with his grandson Toby Ryan.
Image: Patrick Browne

43-year-old bookshop launches its first online store

Waterfords’ the Book Centre is a hugely popular store – and now anyone can shop there without having to travel.
Aug 4th 2014, 11:30 AM 15,881 17

IT HAS A dedicated fanbase of readers in Waterford, Kilkenny, Wexford and Kildare, and a 43-year history of brightening up bookshelves.

But now The Book Centre has taken the leap online – and wants to provide a personal experience to buyers.

The owners

The shop was opened by Sean Ryan and his wife Maureen, and Denis and Alice Doolin on Michael Street in Waterford City in 1971.

The Ryan family has been in business in Waterford since 1749 in milling and in polish manufacturing. Meanwhile, Sean’s father entered the retail business in 1921.

Before long they had outgrown the 1,000 square foot store and bought the old art-deco Savoy Cinema in the city centre.

This was turned into a premises with a café and was soon joined by a three-storey Wexford location in 1973. This was followed by a Kilkenny Book Centre in 1974.

Its most recent store opening was in Naas in 2005, under the brand Barker & Jones.

Loyal clientele

Book Centre 6 (1) Source: Patrick Browne

Maeve Ryan, Managing Director of The Book Centre, said this is a new direction for the company “but it is something we have been planning and working on for sometime”.

They are conscious of the trend towards e-books, but theirs customer also like getting to spend time browsing books in the store. Because of that, they don’t want the website to be faceless.

The same staff that work in the store will be dealing with the online customers, said Maeve. “We are hoping to reach all of Ireland,” she said. “We pride ourselves on our customer service.”

Sean Ryan said that it has always been their business philosophy to “concentrate on being the very best in our industry in our store locations”.

“We have never wished to have lots and lots of shops, we have always concentrated on opening a store in a new location,” he said.

They want to have a loyal clientele, a broad array of products and excellent customer service.

This has served us well over the years and we believe that now is the right time for us to enter the online market and again do this really well.

The site is available at thebookcentre.ie.

Read: 17 Irish independent bookshops you must visit before you die>

Send a tip to the author

Aoife Barry

COMMENTS (17)

    Back to top