Town opens 10 new bookshops in a day

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The self-styled "King of Hay" Richard Booth, main player in the largest second-hand book centre in the world, yesterday opened 10 more stores, this time in a run-down, former coal mining town in Wales.

Just 28 miles down the road from Booth's literary empire at Hay-on-Wye, the early industrial town of Blaenavon could become a new literary Mecca.

"I think it should add to the attractions," said Brian Smith, the leader of Torfaen County Council. Booth and his American business partner, James Hanna, hope to revive the fortunes of the World Heritage-rated town, which retains some of Europe's best-preserved ironworks, built with "cutting-edge" technology in 1788. Another attraction of Blaenavon - population 6,000 - may lie in its empty property. Monthly shop rents are under £200.