If you’ve dreamed of running away from it all and opening a small shop, you’re in luck. The Open Book, a bookstore in Wigtown, Scotland, with a population of 1,000, is now giving would-be shop owners the chance to manage their own bookstore.
Known as Scotland's National Book Town, Wigtown, a quiet seaside hamlet in the lowlands, which has a high concentration of second-hand bookshops, has been drawing writers, artists, and thinkers looking for a chance to participate in The Open Book Residency since 2014. The initiative is meant to raise awareness of the challenges that booksellers everywhere face.
The space is leased by Airbnb, which also rents the apartment above with one bedroom and two beds. The rental has a five-star rating on the site and invites guests to stay for a week or two for an affordable $75 a night.
The concept was created by The Wigtown Festival Company, which strives is to celebrate books, independent bookshops and invite people from around the world to visit Scotland's National Book Town. The fee for the stay is low because the organization is a non-profit and the rental covers only the overhead. The company also provides a laptop and WiFi.
Nestled in Galloway, Wigtown has been the setting for many classic novels, like The 39 Steps. The region also features ancient woodlands, ruinous castles, a whisky distillery, nature preserves, farms, 7 Stains Cycle Trails, the Southern Upland Way, Scotland's Art Town, and Food Town, all within cycling or driving distance.
The Open Book team will be on hand to greet you and show you the ropes, though the day to day management of the shop is up to you. A very friendly town, Wigtown residents are welcoming and often meet guests at the local pub or invite them to dinner.
On the Open Book blog, guests rave about the experience. "The days at the shop flew by, simply by having great conversations with people coming in," says Digna. "It has been a wonderful adventure."
"We’ve had such a fun time here. It’s all gone by so fast. The apartment was really nice. We’ve also had really good food here, and all the locals are extremely nice," adds Rebecca. The next Wigtown Book Festival will take place from September 21 to September 30, 2018, and will feature more than 250 events, Scotland's most interesting writers, as well as theatre, film, and music. A full program will be announced at the end of July.