Liberties Press began as a kitchen-table operation in 2003 and now lays claim to being Ireland's leading independent publisher, with several hundred titles in print and an active international presence. We publish the best writing from Ireland, both non-fiction and fiction, by authors ranging from presidents and taoisigh to debut novelists and poets. Despite the dramatic and ongoing technological advances of recent years, people still love reading books – and physical, print-and-paper ones, at that.
We believe that, important as it is for a publisher to produce an attractive book, to the highest editorial, print and design standards, it is equally necessary to make sure that that book reaches as many potential readers as possible, in whatever format they like to read, and wherever they are in the world. Books are fully recyclable (we don’t mean lending them or giving them away - though that works too), and we use cardboard packaging rather than plastic. We are working to change the wasteful sale-or-return system which is common practice in bookselling.
Good publishing is a creative endeavour, and the work of many hands: editors, designers, illustrators, publicists, sales people, distributors and booksellers, as well as writers. It is a complicated and sometimes difficult business, but an important one. Here at Liberties, we strive for the highest professional standards in everything we do. We hope you find something to interest you in our new, redesigned website. By buying from the site, you are supporting an independent, Irish-owned company – and playing an active part in the multifaceted world of books.
What’s in a name? ‘Liberties’ was chosen for the place where we started: the west inner city of Dublin. But the name has at least three layers of meaning for us. First, it denoted an area where traders were granted liberty from certain taxes – and political interference – by the monarch in Anglo-Norman times. The Liberties was a form of free-trade area, outside the western gates of the city. This, together with the dynamism the Vikings had previously brought to the area, helped ensure that Dublin became an important commercial hub – which it remains today.
Second, ‘liberties’ is a nicely old-fashioned word for ‘freedoms’. Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. A flourishing book industry is as important as the robust good health of any other part of the media. We hope we have played our part in this respect, and aim continue to do so. We hope we are part of a long and noble tradition.
Third, the first five letters of ‘Liberties, ‘liber’, are the Latin for ‘book’. Books have been a part of human society since very early times, and are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. They say that the smell of old paper is like that of wine: it is complex, and varies according to age. Our books are part of libraries, both public and private, grand and small, around the world: you could say that they add to the overall odour. Our first author, the Kerry sportswriter Con Houlihan, memorably said: ‘A man who will misuse an apostrophe is capable of anything.’ So is a man, or woman, who doesn’t own a book. Looked at another way: ‘Someone who owns a book is capable of anything.’ A book has the power to change the world. Never doubt it.