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Batch saves credit control time and telephone calls. I can then use this saved money and time to invest in buying other books, which obviously is good for the publishers.

O'Mahony's, Ireland

Meet Frank O’Mahony, Managing Director of his family's famous bookshop in Limerick.

Where is your shop? The flagship shop of 15,000 square feet is based at 120 O’Connell Street, Limerick. We have shops also in Ennis, Tralee and the University of Limerick. Our library supply business operates from Ashbourne Business Park, Limerick.

How many people work there? 75 normally and up to 50 extra seasonal workers are employed during summer months between branches.

How long has the business existed? O’Mahony’s was founded in 1902 at 120 O’Connell St. Limerick by my grandfather J. P. O’Mahony, and continues to trade from the same location. I entered the booktrade in 1973.

What did you do before becoming a bookseller? A degree in Economics and Politics.

What does a typical day involve? There is no such thing as a typical day in the retail trade! However, I do all the new book buying, in addition to day-to-day administration and planning.

What kind of books do you sell? We have books to cater for all ages, we also sell primary and secondary school books, children’s, general books and academic. We also sell a wide range of non-book product like stationery, cards, book-related gifts and jigsaws.

Where do your customers come from? From everywhere: local, tourists and from our website. Web sales are becoming increasingly important in terms of turnover if not in profitability!

Why are bookshops important? As a community focal point, cultural centre, as well as a provider of local employment.

How would you describe the current state of the trade? It is rather tough at the moment as so much money is being withdrawn from circulation due to bank bail-outs and increased taxation.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future? In the very long term I would worry about future readers. The big push towards e-books will not nurture and develop reading in children, only push them towards other more exciting electronic devices. If children don’t read it will be very hard to get them to read when they become teenagers or adults.

How do you compete with the multiples? We watch our competitors like any other business; for the last number of years, we’ve reduced our margins to compete. Many publishers help us in this, but quite a few don’t. Some do not seem to appreciate that they need properly stocked bookshops to display their wares – not everyone lives online!

What aspect of the business do you most enjoy? Mingling with customers.

Are there things you dislike? The amount of paperwork and some of the margins . . . .

How do you choose stock? It’s based on previous knowledge of sales, analysing sales reports, reading relevant magazines and newspapers.

Do you organise in-store events? Yes, we run children’s events monthly and do local and international author events – usually there is at least one event a week in-store. We also run school events for World Book Day celebrations involving over 2,000 school children coming to the shop over two weeks.

What have been this year’s bestsellers? Run, Fat Bitch, Run by Ruth Field, The Veiled Woman of Achill by Patricia Byrne, Flourishing by Maureen Gaffney, A Message of Hope from the Angels by Lorna Byrne, Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson, Hunger Games and – need I add – 50 Shades of Grey?

What advice would you give to someone considering opening a new bookshop? Don’t, not a great idea.

What are you reading at the moment? Antony Beevor’s The Second World War – an excellent read – and (just as a contrast) I have just finished a proof copy of Lars Kepler’s The Nightmare, another superb Swedish detective thriller.

Below: Signing session for the autobiography of Eddie O'Sullivan, Ireland's most successful national rugby coach.

Batch and Your Business

How long have you been using Batch? O’Mahony’s were one of the first (or even THE first) Irish booksellers to use Batch shortly after it was launched through the BA.

How does Batch help your business? Batch is quick and transparent and greatly drives down our back office costs. Suppliers’ statements, invoices and credits are quickly accessible to a variety of users so that paper flow in the organisation is quicker, queries are dealt with more speedily and there are seldom any account interruptions. We can speed up our goods in process by using EDI to integrate invoices into our stock control and order processing system. Batch has helped make O’Mahony’s a more efficient company.

Which BA facilities do you use? Batch Returns, Batch Payments, Book Tokens.

Is there anything Batch could do to make your life easier? Get more publishers to use Batch for payments and returns. Provide seamless platforms between Batch and account packages.

O’Mahony’s Booksellers
Head Office: 120 O’Connell Street

Tel: 00353 61 418155

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