Bookstore tourism is a type of cultural tourism that promotes independent bookstores as a group travel destination. It started as a grassroots effort to support locally owned and operated bookshops, many of which have struggled to compete with large bookstore chains and online retailers.
Those who promote bookstore tourism encourage schools, libraries, reading groups and other miscellaneous organizations to create day-trips and literary outings to cities and towns with a concentration of independent bookstores. Groups of various sizes around the U.S. have offered such excursions, usually via a chartered bus, and often incorporating book signings, author home tours and historical sites. They also encourage local booksellers to attract bibliophiles to their communities by employing bookstore tourism as an economic development tool. Others benefiting include local retailers, restaurants, bus companies and travel professionals. The effort also provides organizations with an outreach opportunity to support reading and literacy.
The bookselling, publishing, and motorcoach industries have recognized the concept’s potential as a group travel niche and marketing tool.
A book town is a town or village with a large number of used book or antiquarian book stores. These stores, as well as literary festivals, attract bibliophile tourists. A number of the book towns are members of the International Organisation of Book Towns.
When trade in used books has now become a real growth industry, it has several reasons:
It has never been written so many new books annually, and in the ordinary bookstore, the books have to turn away quickly for the new books of the year.
We buy more books than before, but changing life situations, more often changing workplaces and living conditions make it difficult for many to get rid of some of the books they’ve collected.
We have more free time and can now read many of the books we did not have time to read before – but which can now only be purchased from those who sell used books.
The world’s first book village is isolated in Wales. Richard Booth opened an antiquarian bookshop in the village of Hay-on-Wye in 1961, with the contents of a container of books brought from New York. Today, the place, which does not even have 2,000 inhabitants, has over 25 antique shops. Many of them specialize in individual topics. The place attracts many tourists. The tourism is further promoted through book events.
Following the concept of Hay, further book villages in Europe and occasionally on other continents have emerged. The book villages organize themselves in the IOB, the International Organization of Booktowns.
The first book village in Germany and the German speaking area was founded in September 1997. Mühlbeck and the neighboring village of Friedersdorf in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld now have about 9 bookshops with fewer than 3000 inhabitants. The foundation stone was 70,000 books collected throughout Germany. Today, around one million books are on offer.
In North America, special trips have been organized since 2003 to visit independent bookshops. Also signing sessions, houses of authors and literary-historical places can be destination. Schools, libraries and others are encouraged to organize day trips.
List of book towns
Book towns with known dates of operation
Jinbōchō, Tokyo, Japan (early 1880s)
Hay-on-Wye, Wales (1961)
Redu, Belgium (1984)
Bécherel, France (1988)
Montolieu, France (1989)
Bredevoort, Netherlands (1993)
Stillwater, Minnesota, U.S. (1993)
Saint-Pierre-de-Clages, Switzerland (1993)
Fontenoy-la-Joûte, France (1993)
Mundal, Fjærland, Norway (1995)
Wigtown, Scotland (1997)
Zossen-Wünsdorf, Germany (1997)
Damme, Belgium (1997)
Dalmellington, Scotland (1997, though the last bookseller closed in 2005 and the project has folded)
Sysmä, Finland (4 July 1997)
Mühlbeck-Friedersdorf, Germany (1997)
Kampung Buku Langkawi, Malaysia (3 December 1997)
Archer City, Texas, U.S. (1999)
Southern Highlands, Australia (2000)
Mellösa, Sweden (17 February 2001)
Tvedestrand, Norway (2003)
Sedbergh, England (2003)
Blaenavon, Wales (28 June 2003, though the project had folded by March 2006)
Brownville, Nebraska, U.S., (2004)
Hobart, NY – Book Village of the Catskills (2005)
Atherstone, Warwickshire (2005)
Torup, Denmark (2006)
Kampung Buku Melaka, Malaysia (17 April 2007)
St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada (2007)
Urueña, Spain (2007)
Bellprat, Catalonia (2008)
Esquelbecq, France (2010)
Clunes, Victoria, Australia (2012)
Montereggio Mulazzo, Italy
Borrby, Sweden (2011)
Óbidos, Portugal (2015)
Featherston, New Zealand (2015)
Cervera, Catalonia (2016)
Montblanc, Catalonia (2017)
Bhilar, Maharashtra, India (2017)
Book Towns with unknown dates of operation
Sidney, British Columbia
[booktown-yean], South Korea (2017)
Gold Cities BookTown, Grass Valley, California
An independent bookstore is a retail bookstore which is independently owned. Usually, independent stores consist of only a single actual store (although there are some multi-store independents). They may be structured as sole proprietorships, closely held corporations or partnerships (i.e. a small number of shareholders or partners), cooperatives, or nonprofits. Independent stores can be contrasted with chain bookstores, which have many locations and are owned by large corporations which often have other divisions besides bookselling.
Author events at independent bookstores sometimes take the role of literary salons and independents historically supported new authors and independent presses.
U.S. decline and renaissance
For most of the 20th century, almost all bookstores in the United States were independent. In the 1950s, automobiles and suburban shopping malls became more common. Mall-based bookstore chains began in the 1960s, and underwent a major expansion in numbers in the 1970s and 1980s, especially B. Dalton and Waldenbooks. Big box chains also expanded during this period, including Barnes & Noble (which also acquired Texas chain Bookstop), Borders, and Crown Books. Amazon.com was founded during the dot-com boom in 1994 and exclusively sold books until 1998.
By the 1990s, these competitive pressures had put independent bookstores under considerable financial pressure and many closed due to their inability to compete. Closures in the United States include Kroch’s and Brentano’s (1995) in Chicago, Gotham Book Mart (2006) in New York, Cody’s Books (2008) in Berkeley, Kepler’s Books (August 31, 2005), Printers Inc. Bookstore (2001) in Palo Alto, A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books (2006) in San Francisco, Midnight Special (2004) in Santa Monica, Dutton’s Books (2008) in Los Angeles, Coliseum Books (2007) in New York City, and Wordsworth Books (2004) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The number of independent booksellers in the United States dropped 40% from 1995 to 2000.
In the 2000s, e-books started to take market share away from printed books, either published directly via the world wide web, or read on e-ink devices such as the Amazon Kindle, introduced in 2007. Amazon continued to gain significant market share, and these competitive pressures resulted in a collapse of the chain stores in the 2010s. Crown closed in 2001; Borders, B. Dalton, and Waldenbooks were liquidated in 2010-11. A smaller Barnes & Noble, with its less-successful Nook e-reader was left as the only nation-wide chain, with second-largest Books-A-Million operating in only 32 states. This collapse created an opening for the return of more independent shops.
According to the American Booksellers Association, the number of independent U.S. bookstores increased 35%, from 1,651 in 2009 to 2,227 in 2015. A Harvard Business School study by Professor Ryan Raffaelli attributed this increase to the buy local movement and success in curation of interesting titles and hosting book-oriented community events. The market has bifurcated between consumers looking for a highly interactive experience at local stores, and consumers looking for low-cost, high-selection stores where large chains compete with difficulty against online sales.
Portrayal in film
Two documentary films, Indies Under Fire (2006) and Paperback Dreams (2008), explore the difficulties faced by U.S. independent bookstores in the new economy.
The competition between chain and independent retailers was fictionalized in the 1998 film You’ve Got Mail.
Famous independent bookstore
Shakespeare Bookstore: Founded in Paris in France in the 1920s.
City Lights: Founded in 1953 in San Francisco, California.
Watkins Books: Founded in 1893 in London, England.
Causeway Bay Bookstore: Founded in 1994 in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island, China.
Preface book room
Source from Wikipedia