Calling All Bookish Tourists in Scotland: Run a Bookstore for a Week!

August 26, 2015

The Open Book bookshopIf you’ve ever wanted to run a bookstore without strings attached, now you’ve got a chance.

For £150 a week, tourists can operate Scotland’s “The Open Book,” where, when not selling books for forty hours a week, guests sleep in a flat above the shop.

“The bookshop residency’s aim is to celebrate bookshops, encourage education in running independent bookshops, and welcome people around the world to Scotland’s national book town,” reads the AirBnB listing.

As the first of its kind, the experience is for those “who don’t feel that running a bookshop is work,” said Adrian Turpin, director of the Wigtown book festival, to the Guardian.

“It’s not about cheap labour—it’s about offering people an experience ... It’s one of those great fantasies.”

But at heart, Turpin put his idea into action in an effort to save his bookstore.

“I suspect [the shop] would have closed, without this. Wigtown is Scotland’s national book town, but it’s quite a long way from anywhere. So part of the idea was to get new people in—people who would hopefully end up having a good time and a long-standing relationship with the town. And also to keep the bookshop afloat.”

Lee and Janet Miller, an American couple that once ran their own store in Sudbury, Massachusetts, recently ran Open Book, and blogged about the experience: “Today reminded both of us of why we so loved being booksellers … It is of course dealing with books, which we love. But it is also the social interaction.”

“As a bookseller, you are available to the world, and people come by for business and also just to connect,” they wrote. “We felt a part of the community today. We’re transients here, but we can be a part of it nonetheless for the time we are here.”


Photo credit: The Open Book.

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