As you will remember I have been thinking about bookshops recently and I wrote a post asking people what their ideal bookshop would be like. Not happy with that, I decided to ask one of the groups in Goodreads (UK group, thanks all) what would their ideal bookshop be like. Apart from fantastic thoughts and ideas, they also told me I had to visit Hay-on-Wye. Hay had been on my list for a long time and with my friend Sumi we had been talking about visiting their literary festival for several years, but we’ve never managed to make our schedules work (or only remembered far too late, as it books in advance, year on year it seems). I didn’t need much convincing and finally booked myself in for a weekend in Hay.
And I can tell you, they were right. Even if you don’t like books, you’d still like Hay. Just over the border in South Wales, it is a beautiful town, with an old market, great shops (evidently over 40 bookshops, but also clothes, crafts, local foods…), great pubs and restaurants…Even the cinema is fabulous, with stone walls and the most comfortable seats I’ve tried in a cinema for ages (and it has a bar…in case that makes a difference).
Granted, the weather wasn’t too great, but it’s October and Wales, so…not too cold either.
I can’t tell you how much I loved it. The sheds/like bookshops, the little ones, the ones like corridors, the thematic ones, the gorgeous/temple like ones, the Penguin one, the pink one…
And I was talking to one of the owners of the Addyman Books shops (they have 3, including one dedicated to crime: ‘Murder and Mayhem’, the first picture in the post) who was really welcoming, encouraging, talked about how the business had changed, how now you have to be in the internet, how after 30 years in the business the US Library of Congress had ordered a book from them, how it is hard work but if you really love it and have ideas…She told me that all writers wanted to own bookshops and all bookshop owners wanted to be writers, and told me that they were always looking for enthusiastic and intelligent people who could plan events, etc. And yes, getting hands on experience would be good in her opinion.
In case you haven’t worked it out yet, I’m one of those writers who’d like to own a bookshop. At the moment collecting ideas, we shall see.
I share a few of the pictures I took with you. They will probably keep coming…
Thanks for reading, and if you have enjoyed it, please, like, comment, and share!
(Oh, and thanks to the owners of the Rothbury B&B for their hospitality. Lovely house and I’d never before tried a bath with feet!)
Link to my previous post on bookshops:
- Hay-on-Wye v Amazon: Politicians join fight to stop closure of bookshops in historic town (independent.co.uk)
- Travel the Bookshop Trail (travelbetweenthepages.com)
- A quick visit to Hay-on-Wye (kimbofo.typepad.com)
- Death of a bookshop (timescolumns.typepad.com)