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Hay-on-Wye, the Secondhand Bookshops Village in Wales

by Yoonkyong Song
(Saitama, Japan)

Richard Booth bookshop & Hay Castle bookshop

Richard Booth bookshop & Hay Castle bookshop

Have you ever heard about "Hay-on-Wye"? Hay-on-Wye, on the English border in Mid-Wales, is the world's greatest place to find used books. In fact, it is the oldest secondhand bookshops village in the world. The twenty plus bookshops of Hay are a legacy of the eccentric Richard Booth, one of the bookshop owners.

Booth's successful shop brought a renaissance of attention to the once obscure town and the little-visited region---so much so that Mr. Booth wished Hay to secede from the United Kingdom and put him on the throne as King Richard.

The bookshops, though they have multiplied in number, still look like what they sell---used books. There is always a pervasive, faint, musty smell. The shelves, the counter, and even the shopkeepers, have a distinct worn appearance; yet remain practical, useful, and without any detectable decoration or frill.

In Hay, the used book business lacks the bistros like Borders and the bustle and ballyhoo of Barnes and Noble, at least.

When I heard about Hay-on-Wye, I was very interested in that place. I love the vintage atmosphere and books. And I'd like to go to some bookshops in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, SOMEDAY!

I'm going to go to France in September, and I have some plans to go to England, Scotland, & Wales. So maybe I can go to there in September.

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