November 6, 2006

41 Bookstores in Hay-on-Wye, Wales

The Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye (or Y Gelli in Welsh) was the starting point for the international “book towns” movement, now made up of about 20 towns around the world. Boasting 41 bookstores for only 1500 inhabitants (that’s about one bookstore for every 37 residents), Hay-on-Wye also plays host to the annual Hay Festival, a literary gathering that draws 80,000 visitors each May.

The bookstores in Hay-on-Wye are notable not only for being so numerous, but also for their large range of subject matter and unique settings. I’ve read that there are 41 bookstores in the town, but depending on how you count, you can come up with a shorter or longer list. For example, there are numerous stores not listed here that sell books but just not as their main products, at least one wholesale book dealer, and a couple of additional book binderies. Most of the bookstores in this list are from the list of bookshops on the town’s official Web site and this PDF map of the 2006 festival. Feel free to leave a comment if you know of any others.

  1. Addyman’s Books: General selection with a focus on English literature and modern first editions.
  2. Addyman’s Annexe: Offshoot of Addyman’s Books that, according to their Web site, specializes in “the sexier material: beat, sex, drugs, art, modern firsts, poetry, philosophy, left wing history and the occasional occult work!”
  3. Antique Golf & Books
  4. Antique & Book Centre
  5. C. Arden, Bookseller: Natural history and gardening books
  6. Backfold Books & Bygones
  7. B & K Books: Books about bees and apiculture.
  8. The Black Mountains Bindery: Mainly a book repair shop, they also have a small selection of secondhand books.
  9. Bookends: A chain of bookstores with its main operations in Hay-on-Wye.
  10. The Bookshop
  11. The Book Unit
  12. Boz Books: Specializes in Dickens and other 19th century authors.
  13. Broad Street Book Centre
  14. Castle Street Books
  15. The Children’s Bookshop
  16. The Children’s Bookshop (Number 2)
  18. Greenways Corner Bookshop
  19. Hancock & Monks
  20. Hay Castle: Bookstore located in the town’s 13th-century castle.
  21. Hay Cinema Bookshop: One of the largest stores in town, and as its name suggests, it was formerly a cinema.
  22. Hay-on-Wye Booksellers
  23. Hay-on-Wye Books Trade
  24. Kestrel Books and Gallery
  25. Lion Street Bookshop
  26. Marijana Dworski Books: Specializes in languages (dictionaries, grammars etc.), and books on the Balkans, Russia, Central Asia and East Central Europe.
  27. Andrew Morton Books
  28. Murder & Mayhem: Offshoot of Addyman’s Books, sells detective fiction.
  29. The New Strand
  30. Outcast Books
  31. Oxford House Books
  32. Pembertons: Sells new books, and is the official bookseller for the Hay Festival.
  33. Rare Comics & Cards
  34. Richard Booth’s Bookshop Ltd: Located in the town’s old firehouse, this bookstore is owned by the man who began the book town movement in Hay-on-Wye in 1961.
  35. Rose’s Books: Specializes in rare and out-of-print children’s and illustrated books.
  36. The Poetry Bookshop
  37. The Sensible Bookshop
  38. The Strand Bookshop
  39. Westhouse Books
  40. Mark Westwood Books
  41. Y Gelli Auctions

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