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‘Book’ this trip

Attention bookworms! Have you heard of the ‘Honesty Bookstore’, where you are free to pay on the honour system. There are no store attendants or cashiers here!

Many of you may have celebrated ‘Book Day’ in a special way.  Around the world, many booklovers had to battle doomsday prophets who said that books would soon become obsolete! If you lived in the quirky little town of Hay-on-Wye in Wales you would have laughed your head off at these prophesies.  Why? This little town is a booklover’s paradise. 

You’ll find bookshelf after bookshelf all across the town, all packed with books, more books, and still more books! This little town with a population of just about 2,000 year round residents has come to be known as the ‘Book Capital of the World’, or “town of books”. 

Hay-on-Wye has over 30 bookstores and there are bookshelves all over the town, not just inside the bookstores. There are shelves outside the stores, under tents in empty spaces, in garages, in an old castle, the old Hay-on-Wye castle, and even against the town walls! The good news for bargain-hunters is that many of these books are discount bookstores.

Even non booklovers (is there anyone like that?!) among tourists find something to chuckle about here. For example there is a store called ‘Honesty Bookstore’, which is full of books with no store clerks. You are free to browse around to your heart’s content, and pay for the books or donate in the containers at the exit – all on the honour system.

Are you a fan of a particular genre of books? Well your hunt for that special book is simplified because there are Specialty Bookstores across the town. For example the store, ‘Murder & Mayhem’ specialises in detective, horror and crime books; Rose’s Books specialises in rare and out-of-print children’s books and picture books.

Every year a British newspaper hosts the annual Hay Festival, which is a literary festival. Would you believe this town of 2,000 attracts over 80,000 visitors during the festival? This year the festival is being held between May 26 and June 5.  In keeping with tradition some of the world’s most famous writers will attend for book signings, readings, book sales, and other fun activities.

 If your interest has been piqued by this description and you want to visit Hay-on-Wye you can get all details of the town and the festival on the website hay-on-wye.co.uk. In November 2010 this town was introduced to India when the festival came to India.

The ‘Hay Festival Kerala’ was held and prominent writers from far and near attended. The festival was organised jointly by the British Council and Wales Arts International and held in Kanakakunna Palace. For all of us who can’t go to Wales, such an opportunity is the next best thing.

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