With Amazon slowly taking over the publishing world and bookstores closing left and right, things can sometimes seem a little grim for the brick and mortar booksellers of the world. Before they go completely, here's a list of the 20 most beautiful bookshops in the world.
London's Charing Cross Road was once a renowned as destination for bibliophiles. However this has changed as a number of bookshops have closed, the crime specialist Murder One being the latest. The Guardian looks how the street has changed between 1940 and now (flash). [more inside]
The Hay Festival of Literature begins tomorrow. Lasting for ten days, and touted as the world's largest literary festival, it is located in Hay-on-Wye (Y-Gelli), the world's first booktown and self-proclaimed Independent Kingdom. Hay-on-Wye is a booklover's paradise (or hell, depending on the state of your credit card), with over 40 incredibly well-stocked bookshops (in a small town of only 2500 people, this means about three bookshops per block). This year's Festival offers a chance to hearfrom the likes of DeLillo, Atwood, Said, Childish and Hitchens, and while some are obviously on-tour and will be standing next to a table of their newest product, the events aren't free. Would you pay to hear your favourite authors read? Has hearing an author changed the way you read his/her book? Which authors have been as entertaining in person, and which have turned you off reading their books forever?
Must people who work in book shops have an English Literature degree? "At Foyles, the book-lover's bookshop, I approach the counter with a copy of James Joyce's Ulysses. "I bought this book the other day," I say, "and I want my money back. It's full of typing errors and there's no punctuation." But who dumbed down first, the readership or the book trade? Also, I notice Books etc isn't included, perhaps because the clerks in that chain have to write little reviews of all the books they read, which are then put on the edges of the shelves ...