I don’t care where you live in the U.S.- this little UK town on the English-Welsh border has you beat when it comes to books per capita. Hay-on-Wye is a book town, created expressly as a place where UK book lovers can go to feed their frenzy. How many books does the town have on average? Four million, that’s how many! This town of 1,500 persons has 41 bookstores- one bookstore for every 37 residents. That’s not nearly enough locals to keep these bookstores going, of course, but not to worry- 500,000 visitors per year are enough to keep all 41 bookstores in business.
I’ve said before in other forums that the Show-Me State Tourism Bureau might do well to try to create a booktown in the hinterlands of our state: centrally located, so that visitors need to pass numerous other cities/towns in MIssouri on the way there; but not far from a big interstate so that it’s easily accessible year-round, preferably with wineries/other attractions nearby to help attract visitors/share the wealth. How to attract booksellers: no state income taxes the first three years in operation (but no incentives for Big Box Booksellers).
Official website for Hay-on-Wye: