A Book Town is a trend that began in the 1960’s and refers to a town or village with a large number of used book or antiquarian book stores.
Along with their unique and plentiful bookstores they also host wonderful literary festivals
These book festivals attract book lovers and bibliophiles from all over the world. A number of towns are also members of the International Organisation of Book Towns.
Check out these first 6 awesome, yet quaint little book towns:
Sometimes referred to as the “Village of Books.” Montolieu was the town that first introduced me to the concept of “Book Towns.” With a population of roughly only 747 people Montolieu contains fifteen bookshops, mostly specializing in second-hand and
Every year the town offers many workshops such as: Used and antiquarian bookshops, Working craftspeople of books and art, The Arts and Crafts of the Book Museum, Bibliophilia stocks, Educational activities around the Book and its craft, and many more. These workshops attract approx. . 52 000 visitors each year.
The concept of book towns first came into being in the 1960s, when the fortunes of Hay-on-Wye, a small market town on the Welsh/English border, were transformed by the power of books. The opportunity to regenerate struggling villages and towns by opening up secondhand bookstores and welcoming literary events has since been embraced by many other locations around the world. The town of just under 2,000 also hosts an “honesty bookshop,” where you make your selection against a backdrop of some old ruins and leave your money in a box.
Known as Tokyo’s center of used-book stores and publishing houses, and as a popular antique and curio shopping area. In 1913, a large fire destroyed most of the area. In the wake of the fire, a university professor named Shigeo Iwanami opened a bookstore in Jinbōchō which eventually grew into today’s Iwanami Shoten publishing house. Over time, the area became popular with university students and intellectuals, and many small bookstores and cafes opened there.
Hobart, New York
Hobart is a historical village in Delaware County, New York, United States. This beautiful agricultural community has a population of approx. 441 (at the 2010 census.) The village has 5 bookstores, as well as 20 other book sellers within a 20 mile radius. In 1999 the town was a ghost town but by 2005 Don Dales (a local entrepreneur) and musician saved the town by establishing the first book town east of the Mississippi.
For a detailed story about this town’s amazing
journey check out the article in this link:
In the medieval town of Urueña, in Valladolid, you will find the first “Villa del Libro” in Spain. In the streets of this town you will find 12 bookshops selling old or out of print books, or wher e interesting activities take place: El Rincón Escrito, Alejandría Bookshop, “Wine Museum” Cellar Bookshop (specialising in science and fiction literature about wine), Alcuino Caligrafía (organises
courses on calligraphy of other cultures, for all levels), El 7 Bookshop (specialising in the world of bullfighting), Samuel Bookshop, Alvacal, Boutique del Cuento, Almadí Bookshop, La Punta del Iceberg, Alcaraván Bookshop and the Artisan Book Binding Workshop of Urueña.
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=167995
In the beautiful Ardennes region of Belgium, Redu is a lovely little village with a population of 500. Local villager Noel Anselot returned from a trip to Hay-on-Wye In 1979, and was so inspired that he decided to regenerate his own tiny village by attracting booksellers. He wrote to many book-dealers across the region, inviting them to set up shop in some of the original village buildings (such as barns, houses, and sheds) to keep the look of the village intact. The project was a success. Now 17 bookshops specializing in secondhand books and comics are based in the village. Redu holds a number of book-related exhibitions and events every year, including a book night when the bookshops stay open all night long. The town was officially declared a book town in 1984 after holding its first book festival.
I cannot get over how beautiful these towns are.
It would be a dream to visit any one of them. However, I think I need to save up so I can plan an around the book world in 80 days trip!
Have you been to any of these book towns? Which would you love to visit?
Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow evening! Now Available: Pt: II