Business

Kenny’s, Ireland’s largest bookstore “challenging Amazon”

Kenny's bookstore in Galway
Kenny's bookstore in Galway
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Kenny’s bookstore, based in Liosbán, Galway, now boosts up to 6.5 million titles, with a recent statement from Des Kenny, bookstore management, saying: “We’re challenging Amazon”.

The Kenny family outside Kenny's Bookshop in the 1980's
The Kenny family outside Kenny's Bookshop in the 1980's

The company, celebrating 70 years in existence this year, has come a long way from its humble beginnings in Galway’s High Street in 1940. Recent negotiations with business partners in Britain and the US have allowed Kenny’s to offer up to 6.5 million titles through its online store for the first time. This new venture and recently relaunched website has given Kenny’s the ability to compete with other established bookstores like Amazon, but also with smaller Irish book retailers like Eason’s.

One unique selling point offered by Kenny’s and iterated by Des Kenny is free worldwide postage, regardless of weight or destination. “The price you pay is the price you see on the screen when you first click on the book, not a cent more.”

What the new website lacks in aesthetic design, it makes up for in usability. Tasks like browsing through the catalog, searching with specific criteria, and the entire checkout process are very simple, arguably providing a better user experience than Amazon.

This new online initiative by Kenny’s is the culmination of a four year long effort according to Des. “It’s a coming to fruition of a journey we started from when we closed the bookshop on High Street in 2006. We want to combine our expertise and personal service and marry that to cyber bookselling, and this new venture will be the result of that.”

This vision from a small bookstore in the west of Ireland is a credit to the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in Ireland. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Darren McCarra
Darren McCarra is co-editor of The Sociable. He has a keen interest in photography, all things mobile, and writing about technology and social media. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.