A book town is a small rural town or village in which second–hand and antiquarian bookshops are concentrated. Most Book Towns have developed in villages of historic interest or of scenic beauty.
The concept was initiated by Richard Booth of Hay–on–Wye in Wales.
The book town offers an exemplary model of sustainable rural development and tourism. It is one of the most successful new tourism developments and it is being followed in many countries around the world.
The International Organisation of Book Towns
The aims of the organisation are to:–
- Raise public awareness of book towns and stimulate interest by giving information via the internet and by organising an International Book Town Festival every second year;
- Strengthen the rural economy and enhance the quality of book towns by exchanging knowledge, skills and know–how between the book towns and their individual sellers and other businesses;
- Undertake other activities which can serve the interests of book towns and strengthen independent businesses in book towns, e.g. by stimulating the use of information technology;
- By these means, help to maintain regional and national cultural heritage, and to raise international public awareness of such heritage.
Members of the organisation may be associations, organisations, local governments, businesses or individuals in book towns.