Well, if you don’t live in the Bristol/South West area of the UK, you probably haven’t.
This book-loving Scouser has lived in Bristol for more years than she cares to admit to and has been to Hay-on-Wye on numerous occasions. Hay-on-Wye, a town on the England/Wales border, is home to the most number of bookshops in the UK and packs in the crowds every year. It’s that renowned it even has its own website. Every other shop in this small town is a bookshop crammed packed full of antiquarian, second-hand and new books, people spend a week there to browse and if you go for the day, you’re advised to get there at stupid o’clock so you can park. Take my word for it, this place is solid gold to book lovers, and a lot of the shops turn away donations because they don’t have the room for them!
Today, however, me and my hubby discovered Bookbarn, a place we kept passing frequently on our way back from visiting a friend who lives nearby, and one we kept telling ourselves: we must go there one day.
We were not disappointed.
In the Bookbarn, there is a massive collection full of second-hand books, all priced at £1; they even have brand new books for £1! There are more expensive, antiquarian books not on display and if you can’t find what you want on the shelves, you go on their computer system and a staff member will fetch it for you from the stores. There’s everything from general fiction, mass market paperback, young adult, children’s, the classics, science fiction, music scores, vinyl albums, plays, non-fiction: historical, cookery, sport, Haynes car manuals – you want it, they probably have it. There are over 1 million books! The website has a catalogue for you to search, but these are usually for more expensive, rare, out-of-print titles.
I bought two Jennings books (I’m collecting them!) and my man bought six books, four cookery and two walking books: total spends £8.
There is also a lovely little cafe selling snacks, cakes, tea and coffee.
So if you’re holidaying in the Bristol area or thereabouts, check out the Bookbarn. You’ll love it!