The Book Town concept was initiated by Richard Booth in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, U.K.
It offers an exemplary model of sustainable rural development and tourism. It is one of the most succesful new tourism developments and is being followed in many countries.
Five European Book Towns: Bredevoort (The Netherlands), Fjaerland (Norway), Hay-on-Way (Wales), Montolieu (France), and Redu (Belgium), jointly have completed the 24 monthsâ€™ EU-project UR 4001 : European Book Town Network – a Telematics Application based on a Model for sustainable Rural Development based on Cultural Heritage, in cooperation with Vestlandsforsking , Norway and Luton University, England.
As one of the results of this project, the International Organisation of Book Towns, the “I.O.B.“, has been founded.
The aims of this International Organisation are to
- raise public awareness of book towns and stimulate interest by giving information via internet and by organising a International Book Town Festival every second year;
- enhance the quality of book towns by exchanging knowledge, skills and know-how between the book towns and their individual book sellers and other businesses;
- strengthen the rural economy by making propaganda for the existing book towns and by offering a medium (e-commerce) to the book sellers, by which they can offer their books to an universal public, also or specially in the quiet season (“winter economy”);
- undertake other activities which can serve the interests of book towns and strengthen independent businesses in book towns, e.g. stimulating the use of information technology;
- help in these ways maintaining regional and national cultural heritage and to stimulate the international public to get acquainted with it.
The I.O.B. organises an International Book Town Festival approximately every second year. The International Book Town Festival took place in:
- 1st 1998 in Bredevoort, The Netherlands;
- 2nd July 2000 in MÃ¼hlbeck-Friedersdorf, Germany;
- 3rd July 2002 in SysmÃ¤, Finland;
- 4th May 2004 in Wigtown, Scotland;
- 5th June 2006 in FjÃ¦rland, Norway;
- 6th May 2008 in Montereggio, Italy.
The next International Book Town Festival will take place in WÃ¼nsdorf-Waldstadt, Germany, 9-12 September 2010.