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‘Sally Rooney day’: Buzz in bookshops as author's much-anticipated new novel lands on shelves

Rooney’s third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You is out today.

IN BOOKSHOPS AROUND the country, booksellers spent yesterday with a mammoth task before them – packaging, parcelling and posting out pre-ordered copies of Sally Rooney’s latest novel.

Rooney’s much-anticipated third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You is out on shelves today.

For bookshops, the release has brought excited readers to their doors since early this morning – and to their websites for the last several weeks.

In Castlebar, Rooney’s home town, David Brennan of Castle Book Shop says it’s been “exceptionally busy”.

“There’s a great buzz in the shop,” Brennan told The Journal.

“Sally’s from Castlebar so there’s been a huge local interest in the book and the release. People have been very excited to come in,” Brennan said.

“We opened early this morning so there were people in first doors to collect their copy,” he said.

“We haven’t had a book like that in a long time to be honest with you, so it’s great.”

While some readers are heading down to their local bookshop to pick up a copy, others placed their orders online weeks ahead of the release.

For Kennys Bookshop in Galway, yesterday was especially busy as the team posted out their pre-ordered copies.

Speaking to The Journal, Sarah Kenny said that “for us, it’s been busy both today and yesterday”.

“We’ve had the different editions of the book available for pre-order on our website for a number of weeks, and so all of the pre-orders were being printed and packaged and shipped yesterday. We’re doing the second batch of them today.”

“We’ve had a number of customers then coming into the shop looking for the book today as well, so it’s very exciting. There’s huge reaction, huge response,” Kenny said.

Signed copies of the novel have sold out in Kennys Bookshop, but other paperback and hardback copies are still available.

“It’s a great day for the book industry really, particularly to see all of the independent bookshops that are busy with it,” Kenny said.

It feels like a great day for the trade, the excitement that’s been generated, and particularly because it’s a female Irish author and she’s generating so much hype and it’s a bit of a sensation really, people calling it ‘Sally Rooney day’ and all of this.”

Similarly, Books Upstairs in Dublin were kept occupied yesterday with packaging pre-orders.

“We had a lot of preorders for it, so our biggest hurdle was definitely getting the books out,” Hannah Bulger told The Journal.

“There was an embargo on this title so we weren’t allowed to release it to anyone before today, so the biggest thing for us was getting everything wrapped and in the post yesterday,” Bulger said.

“I think because we’re a city centre bookshop we haven’t been getting as much footfall as maybe the suburban bookshops still just because things haven’t totally come back since Covid,” she said.

We didn’t have a line out the door or anything but it effectively felt like a virtual line with all the preorders that went out, so that was really exciting. We’ve had people coming in specifically for it.”

“It really reminds me of being a kid with the Harry Potters. I can’t remember the last time a book had this much buzz and everyone has to have it on publication day.”

Kenny’s Bookshop is open today until 5pm, Books Upstairs until 6pm and Castle Bookshop closes at 6.30pm.

Beautiful World, Where Are You is Rooney’s latest novel since the publication of Normal People in 2018, which found international critical acclaim.

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