What’s Your Favorite Book Town ?

Fjaerland

Whatever you call them: Boekenstad, Paese dei Librai, Village du Livres or just Book Towns, they are small towns or villages in which secondhand and antiquarian bookshops are concentrated. Most Book Towns have developed in settings of historical interest or scenic beauty. And many Bücherstadt  have been the result of community efforts to revive local economies through Bookstore Tourism.

Most booklovers are well acquainted with Hay-on-Wye , Wales, and the story of its creation by the legendary Richard Booth. But how many bibliophiles know about Montereggio Paese dei Librai  in Italy or the newest Village du Livres in Esquelbecq, France ?

For sheer gobsmacking beauty and chutzpah, my nominee for favorite European Book Town has to be Fjaerland, Norway. Magically situated in an achingly beautiful spot between a fjord and a glacier this Noske Bokbyen is a bibliophilic nirvana. Huddled along the waterfront, Fjaerland’s bookshops are housed in former barns, a stable, the old post office, a ferry terminal, old grocery store and a boathouse.

Arnold's

The town boasts that there are four kilometers of book shelves and more than 250,000 used, secondhand and antiquarian books for sale. And since this is Norway, the titles are from throughout Europe and North America.

So if you plan to visit Western Norway, and why wouldn’t you want to, you may as well book a room at the only hotel in town, the grand 19th century Hotel Mundal, and spend a day or two.

For more information on Bokbyen Fjaerland visit their website. And for more on the International Book Town Movement try the International Organisation of Book Towns official site .

Western Norway

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4 Responses to What’s Your Favorite Book Town ?

  1. Jaap Brinkman says:

    I vote for Bredevoort Nederlands. Excellent book shops and very big out of doors book markets at least 15 days each year.

  2. Jamie Emery says:

    I have visited quite a few book towns, including Hay, Wigtown and Bredevoort, but I have to say the St. Pierre-de-Clages in the Valais is the loveliest spot. Not to mention the marvelous local wines and the fondu.

  3. Ann Wood says:

    Hay-on-Wye the first & the best.

  4. Joanne Allen says:

    The Belgian booktown of Redu is marvelous and a good daytrip from Brussels.

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