One of Wales’ largest publishing and printing houses to stop publishing

The Gwasg Gomer building in Llandysul. The printers in the town will remain open

One of the largest publishing and printing houses in Wales is to close its publishing arm.

Gwasg Gomer’s workers in Camarthenshire have been told by the owner, Jonathan Lewis, that the publishing part of the company, based in the town, will close. The printing side on the company, in Llandysul, will remain in operation.

In a statement the company said: “Gomer printing and publishing has decided, after considering in detail the company’s strategic future, to gradually bring publishing to an end and concentrate on the printing department and in doing so protect the future of 55 staff.

“In the meantime Gomer will continue to work with authors and the Welsh Books Council to publish titles which are already in progress, as well as operating as a publisher for the 3,500 titles that are already in print, and ensure that royalties are paid to authors, as well as republishing popular titles when the need arises.”

The company was founded 127 years ago, in 1892, in Llandysul as a general store which is still in existance as the bookstore, Siop Ffab.

The company began printing and publishing after the owner and ancestor of the current owner, J.D. Lewis, brought a printing press to the town on the train from Brecon and installed it at the back of his shop.

The press has published some of the biggest names in Welsh language literature, including T. Llew Jones and Islwyn Ffowc Elis and, alongside Y Lolfa of Tal-y-Bont, is considered the most prominent publisher of Welsh-language books in Wales.

In 2017, eight members of staff left Gomer Press in Wales because of alleged discontent over the restructuring of the independent publisher.

The indie publisher announced a restructure of its publishing department to “ensure its commercial focus and deliver its business strategy”, resulting in the loss of two full time and one part time job.

This included moving the publishing department to Carmarthen.

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Joe ToddEos PengwernSteffanChris Jones Recent comment authors
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Chris Jones
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Sad to hear this as Gomer have been a very respected and admired publisher for many many years. The quality (both print and content) of their books is unsurpassed. However, the times have changed and the business model followed by ‘traditional’ publishers like Gomer is no longer viable. Other well known publishers may soon follow. You can blame Amazon, the Internet, eBooks, change in reading habits, whatever. I do, however, question the role of the Welsh Books Council in this. In my business, yes it is a ‘business’, as a Welsh publisher based in Wales publishing Welsh authors, I cannot… Read more »

Joe Todd
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Joe Todd

That would be the same Books Council that’s supporting Nation Cymru , rebuilt its distribution network ,ensured Welsh presence at Frankfurt the biggest international book fair in the world to develop international market and that books that are important for public service are both translated and printed in Wales . Pretty sure they don’t diddle around with self publicists any longer.

Eos Pengwern
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Very sad news. I’ve recently completed an English translation of Islwyn Ffowc Elis’s “Wythnos yng Nghymru Fydd” (A Week in Future Wales), with the permission of Elis’s estate and on the understanding that Gomer would publish it when finished. Sadly that can’t happen now, and I’m looking for another publisher.

If all else fails it may end up being available print-on-demand from Amazon, but I’ll try to exhaust all the options within Wales first.

Steffan
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Steffan

Hey Eos, that’s a real shame that you had Gomer lined up for this – sounds like a big undertaking and in the interests of all who care about Welsh publishing to support this. Do you have an email address to contact you privately on this?

Eos Pengwern
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Thank you Steffan; with suitable mangling to avoid the attention of bots, it’s simply “stephen AT morris DOT net”.