What Makes Stillwater a Booktown?

"What makes Stillwater a Booktown?" It is not enough to answer this by saying that Stillwater offers 500,000 books for sale, because a few larger cities could make the same claim. By way of broad definition, a town is considered for Booktown status when it models the characteristics of the original Booktown in Hay-on-Wye in Wales. Hay-on-Wye is a small (pop. 1300) town with over 20 bookstores and an estimated 2 million books. Its entire economy revolves around books and bookselling.

 Stillwater, as a small town with 35 booksellers, had developed sufficiently by 1994 to encourage us to petition Richard Booth, King of Hay-on-Wye, Lord Protector of All Booktowns, for official Booktownstatus. In a flurry of faxes, letters, applications, testimonials and gifts to King Richard, we attempted to get him to visit Stillwater, a requirement under the Booktown bylaws. It was not until Tom Loome made a personal pilgrimage to Hay-on-Wye in March of 1994 that the King agreed to consider the matter and follow up with a personal visit. The rest is history. In a ceremony attended by the mayor and other city notables, Stillwater was declared the First Booktown in North America by King Richard Booth on August 26, 1994.

 The proclamation can be seen, along with King Richard's official seal, at St. Croix Antiquarian Booksellers.
 
 

More About Stillwater

Books are enough of a reason to visit Stillwater, but in case you need to convince someone else to go with you, there are dozens of ways to make your case. An excellent place to learn more about this historic midwestern town is the Stillwater Online Guide.

 

Booksellers in Stillwater

 
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