I’ve done quite a bit of book shopping and touring during this trip, which culminated in the “World’s First Book Town”. Last year a book blogger that lives in that region of Wales posted about the town and I was lucky enough to be able to go check it out and finally rest my fear of missing out on something like this.
All things considered we only went to a few of the many bookshops in Hay-On-Wye, but they were full of massive amounts of used books, artwork, old posters, and other oddities to check out. Here’s the ones we went to and I’d recommend all of them!
So the day started off at Brecon, a town on the way and a place I believe was called Brecon Books. I didn’t buy anything but they had a great used SFF area and I learned what the old UK Harry Potter books looked like. Apparently they have child and adult editions with different covers so that people don’t mind being seen reading a “children’s book”. That also said, I think Dumbledore was described a little better than this back cover. Either way, interesting stuff. I also saw the UK Narnia covers and like them a lot more
After that, it was on to the main event
These stores love their crazy old sci-fi and bookish ephemera. Hay-On-Wye Booksellers had piles of old copies of Astounding and other magazines & things, plus rooms and rooms of non SFF books. To be noted, the ones we went to all had large used SFF collections. I grabbed one for kicks from May, 1945.
This particular bookstore also had views surrounded by books so that was cool. Hard to see here but you could see an old church from one side and the castle from the other, plus out over the fields
I think the next stop was Addyman Books, which had a few specialized locations but the one we went to had some fun things and of course piles of books everywhere. It also has cutouts of the star trek captains 🤣
Another store in which I didn’t buy anything but was shocked by the size of it, was Richard Booth’s. They also had some extremely cool old posters and just a ton of old magazines, collections, and “out there” sci-fi & fantasy books. Even if you don’t buy anything it’s totally worth a look-see
Look at those covers though, I almost bought Horses Asteroid just for kicks but I don’t have unlimited packing space 🤣
The last main stop was Hay Cinema Bookshop, which was not only huge and had another shockingly huge old books collection, but I found my real gems there which were 1/1 paperbacks of some Black Company books! Check out this haul!
They just had… Omg so many books. This is only part of one hallway from at least two floors of deep rows.
Some other honorable mentions were a bunch of outdoor but covered books called Honesty, where it was unattended but they asked for a donation of a pound. And located in the shadow of the castle!
One that we didn’t go into but looked awesome from the outside was Murder and Mayhem, which focuses on mysteries & crime and a link can be found here. I think most of the booksellers have their links on this site too so you can check them all out!
This is the link to all of the bookstore listings, with better photos and website links
Well – is this a place you’d like to visit? Where have you been where there are tons of bookstores??
If you’re looking for more bookshopping in the UK, I did a similarly surface scratching post for our Great London Literary Crawl here 😅