The greatest waste of time since coals were first taken to Newcastle? Perhaps! But we think it could work. Let me explain more...
Hay is a treasure trove of second hand books. There are over two dozen second hand book sellers in our town of fewer than 1500 men, women and children, all selling a cornucopia of adventure, wisdom and excitement. The second hand books, along with the attendant Hay Festival, and the friendly people who have made their home here because of them, are the main reason we moved to Hay in the first place.
There are very few books you can't get in Hay. But one slice of the market which is paradoxically thin on the ground is a selection of new books - with the exception of the world-class Booth Books, most of the shops in town focus solely on the second-hand market. Great if you're looking for a lovely copy of "100 Years of Solitude" with an authentic 70's cover - not so good if you're after the latest Naomi Klein.
The other gap in the market in terms of "entertainment" is CDs and DVDs - again we have the awesome Tangled Parrot, and Haystacks in Backfold, but not many options if you need the new One Direction CD for your niece or nephew. And that, friends, is where Hive comes in.
Hive, for those of you unfamiliar, can basically be seen as an ethical alternative to Amazon for your home entertainment needs. They get brand new books, CDs, DVDs and the like to your door in the blink of an eye at competitive prices - all the while supporting high street shops in the UK. For every purchase, you can nominate a bookshop who'll then receive a percentage of the cost of your items (we hope you'll pick us!). You can either get the items delivered to you direct, or have them sent to us - we'll look after them until you can collect them (and no, we don't open them first to see what you've been buying).
All in all it's an amazing win-win. We would never want to take sales away from the incredible second hand book shops that have made Hay world famous, but if you're looking for something they don't stock, here's a way of doing it without resorting to the dreaded Big A. Let us know what you think!
We love being based here in Hay on Wye, internationally famous as the "Town of Books." This year alone we've had two official visits from South Korea to see how the town works, as well as international press coverage in the Chicago Tribune and Conde Nast Traveller. Our literary heritage is a huge inspiration to everyone who lives here, and helps keep the town special for our visitors.
Times are tough in the book trade and it's fair to say the number of bookshops is no longer expanding at the rate it once did. We still have more bookshops per head than anywhere else in the UK though, that much is certain. We also have an opportunity to keep the "Town of Books" ideal alive in shops such as ours. We have a small but growing selection of books which we hope will appeal to locals and tourists alike. Here's a peek at some of our current bestsellers...
Owen Jones - "The Establishment." Darling of the left Jones takes us on a guided tour through the hidden hands which pull the strings behind British life. If nothing else you'll learn about the Overton Window which is an essential concept in understanding UK political life today.
Naomi Klein - "This Changes Everything." Klein's take on the capitalism vs climate change crisis. If we're to face up to climate change it's not enough to change our light bulbs - we have to change our entire economic system. This sounds tricky until you accept that the economy is a subset of the environment - it's no use having stocks and shares if you're ten feet under water.
Julia Cameron - "The Artist's Way." A longtime bestseller, the Artist's Way is a chance to (re)discover the creativity which all of us hold within us. Start each day by writing three sheets of A4. Then see where this simple discipline takes you...
We have loads more books to discover on line and in store. More on the way too!