Popular Ennis Bookshop Says Free Schoolbooks Scheme Threatening Its Business Model

A popular Ennis bookshop claims the expansion of the free schoolbooks scheme has posed an unforeseen threat to its business model.

It follows the announcement that all Junior Cycle students will receive free schoolbooks from next year as part of Budget 2024.

A significant burden on parents was eased last month when Paschal Donohue revealed that the Free Primary Schoolbooks Scheme, which was introduced as part of Budget 2023, will be extended to secondary-level Junior Cycle students from next year.


It’s estimated the measure will benefit over 200,000 students.

In order to avail of the scheme, schools must get a quote from three different booksellers and choose the cheapest.

Bookselling Ireland, which is a representative group for booksellers, has highlighted that schoolbooks make up 30% of bookshop sales on average and says the measure will create “a level of complexity that will be unmanageable for smaller local bookshops”.

Head of Limerick Schoolbooks Department at O’Mahony’s Booksellers, Pam Bardini, says in addition to taking schoolbook sales away from retailers, the scheme will reduce overall footfall.

O’Mahony’s in Ennis has estimated that a staggering 82% of its income came from schoolbooks prior to the introduction of the Free Primary Schoolbooks Scheme.

Ennis branch manager Teresa Meade says now that the scheme has been implemented, the future of the shop has been brought into question for the first time.

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