Rachel Drury qualified as an engineer and worked abroad in the renewable energy industry for over ten years before she decided to relocate back to Ireland in 2018.
When illness took a hold on her that year, Rachel was unable to continue her work as an engineer and instead she focused on her health and began to write about some of the lessons she felt her own illness had taught her.
By 2020, Rachel was ready to self-publish her book, Powered to Fall, Empowered to Rise in the hope that it would help others who were also going through a difficult time in their life. Rachel used the platform on Amazon to publish her book but experienced a major setback when her book went out of stock shortly after.
With the introduction of Brexit, Amazon faced difficulties shipping books to Ireland and books by Irish authors either went out of stock or had long delivery times.
It was at that time Rachel began looking for an Irish owned website to sell her book and when she didn’t find one, she took things into her own hands and set up the website http://www.buythebook.ie as Irelands first online book marketplace.
“It took off really quickly at the start” Rachel tells us. “I knew from the beginning that I could offer a personal service to authors that Amazon could not match. I also knew that because I was coming from the position of being an author myself, I would design the service to be author focused”
It is over a year since Rachel set up buythebook.ie to offer Irish authors and readers an alternative marketplace to Amazon, and today she is now proudly showcasing over 65 Irish Authors on her website and over 100 books. The range of books available include books on Education, Parenting, Children’s Books, Fiction, Self-Help and Irish Interest.
Some of the authors listed on the site include Dr Mary O’Kane, author of Perfectly Imperfect Parenting, Patricia O’Flaherty author of Baking with a Touch of Magic, Liam Cahill author of the Forgotten Revolution and Emma-Jane Leeson author of the Johnny Magory series.
Rachel was passionate from the start that the books on her website would get maximum visibility on the platform and be easily accessible to potential readers:
“It is so important to me that we showcase Irish talent and that books don’t get lost among thousands of other products. I want the website to be a great experience for both the reader and the author and I feel that we do offer that today”
The website is unique as it offers readers a chance to find books they might not otherwise find in traditional bookstores, and they can request a personalised sign copy of the book or leave a comment for the author. The website also offers readers the chance to leave a review or contact the author directly by message.
Rachel explains her unique selling point for authors as well as readers.
“When an author becomes a member of the website, they have full control over selling their book. They control the price and when orders are placed, they post them directly. It is a convenient way for an author to sell their book and have someone else manage the technical end for them. There is also the benefit for members to become part of our online author community.
When a book is published, it is just the start of the process. The real work begins when you are holding the book in your hands and trying to figure out how you can reach your audience. It is a competitive market today with so many books published but I am a big believer that everyone should feel confident and supported in sharing their story. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, writing a book, is so personally rewarding, I would encourage anyone of thinking of it to go for it.
Buy the Book offers support and encouragement for every author after they have published their book. It has become more than just an online bookstore as our online community grows, and that is what I am passionate about. Helping others and learning from each other.”
It is clear from author testimonials that Rachel has succeeded in delivering a personalised service for both authors and readers, and that her passion for helping authors is what is driving the business forward. With an increasing awareness in the importance of shopping local and shopping Irish, Buy the Book is a great example of how we can move away from dominant marketplaces such as Amazon and support our Irish talent directly.
“I’m very impressed with what buythebook.ie have created. They are a refreshingly rare entity in the modern world, where the personal, local touch is still there. A place where readers can buy books directly from the people who wrote them.” Will Disdale
“As a customer, first-class! A user-friendly, fun website with extra touches such as the option for personally signed books from authors and confirmation of despatch.” Jane Buckley
“I cannot recommend Buythebook.ie highly enough. It has been a pivotal part of launching myself as an author and has given me so much direction. I found out so many game changing things about the book world when I joined the group.” Gráinne Farrell
“When joining Buy the Book, I discovered much more than an innovative online bookstore where I do not have to worry about the ever-changing whims and algorithms of the giant multinationals.” Alan Ryan
“As soon as I found the BuyTheBook family I realised that there was a whole community of writers out there in the same boat as me. The support and goodwill that exists on this platform is what stands out to me.” Lisa Geraghty
“Being a member of the group has meant feeling support and encouragement from those coming from a similar platform. I’ve also discovered some great titles and enjoyed reading them.” Anne Frehill