A new website called literarytourist.com has just gone live. Designed to make life easier for bibliophiles who love to travel, the site was born out of a passion for visiting and hunting through used bookstores. Its main purpose, according to owner Nigel Beale, is to help fellow bibliophiles find and discover bricks and mortar used antiquarian bookstores and interesting literary destinations.
Literary Tourist was launched last week by Beale who recently acquired small publishing firm the Book Hunter Press (BHP) and re-created it as a literary destination website and bookstore directory for book lovers. The new site features a refined database of over 8,000 used bookstores including reviews and information about each store. It also contains expanded listings for literary landmarks, rare book libraries, book fairs, writing festivals and other book-related events and activities.
“I was concerned about the alarming number of used bookstore closures, and saw BHP as an opportunity to help slow the trend” says Beale. “Some may see this as quixotic, but, I say, what’s mid-life for, if not a bit of folly.”
Folly perhaps, but Beale is serious about achieving his goal. “With Literary Tourist I want to help book people find and enjoy the bookstores, locales and pastimes they love. By pulling all of these destinations together onto one searchable website we hope to make planning trips more convenient and easy for the literary traveler, and in so doing, in a small way, to help pump new blood and energy into literary culture throughout North America, and, if we’re successful, around the globe.
LiteraryTourist.com is partnering with bookseller marketplace Biblio.com to help promote independent booksellers. "Nigel’s site does a great job of evoking the unique character of the bookshops he showcases. His enthusiasm for great bookstores and the virtues of the printed word make it really exciting to be a part of this project," says Biblio’s vice president Allen Singleton.
Through their partnership both companies seek to increase traffic in physical bookstores, and other literary destinations, to help keep these vital cultural institutions and landmarks open, alive and well.
“Part of the motivation behind this project,” says Beale,“is purely selfish.” I love searching through old used bookstores; the more shops we can help to stay in business, the more fun I’ll have looking through them for treasure in years to come. He sees championing literary tourism in general as a key to achieving his goal, and is currently developing criteria by which he plans to designate certain cities and regions ‘Literary Tourist Hotspots.’