Retailers in Ireland have described demand for a unique partwork celebrating the centenary of the Irish Revolution of 1916 as “unbelievable”.

Part one of The Revolution Papers was published on 28 December and, according to publishers Albertas Ltd has already sold “tens of thousands” of copies.

Joe Sweeney, of the Newsagent in Dublin, reported 500 copies sold in one week and has put in an order for 600 per week for forthcoming editions.

He said: “It’s unbelievable. In my whole 16 years of being a newsagent I’ve never known sales like this. At a time when print is declining this is wonderful.”

Similarly, John Larkin, of Innisfree in Belfast, said he had to reorder the partwork every day last week and sold a total of 250 copies.

He said: “History in Ireland is an emotive subject, but I wasn’t expecting to sell this volume. It’s bucking the trend and great for retailers.”

The 52-part weekly magazine is a collaboration with the National Library in Dublin and features original newspapers from 1916-1923 detailing a turbulent period in Irish history, which eventually led to the independent South.

Rebecca Markey, chief executive of Dublin-based publisher IFP Media, which publishes niche and B2B titles, said she believed the publication’s success was a combination of timing, focus, quality and the ability to tap into an emotional consumer response.

“Partworks work. They’re niche and collectable. The strength of this partwork is it taps into a period of history that there’s a real appetite for. It’s selling facts, knowledge, history and family. I love the idea of a grandparent buying this to pass down to their grandchildren.”

Albertas Ltd publisher Peter McGee said: “This looks like a classic partwork, but partworks are far more niche than 10 or 20 year ago. It’s first-hand history rather than a partisan product, but aimed at a wide readership. We’re delighted with the response.”