Plans to build a supermarket have caused uproar in Hay-on-Wye, the used book capital of the world, reports the Daily Telegraph. Reading through this story, I am reminded a little of Blot on the Landscape by Tom Sharpe.
The first and only really successful second hand book town in the world faces the threat that all bookshops face but with the double jeopardy of a retail giant waiting to move in. Hay is the smallest target to date and, once the food shops are forced to close, the tourists will dwindle – no-one wants to visit these half-dead towns, full of pound shops. And as the shops close and tourism dies, everyone suffers – the B&Bs, pubs, cafes and all the trades which support them. But the supermarkets carry on. They still have a grocery market – everyone has to eat. Tesco, the most expensive after Waitrose, is opening 200 new shops a year, while Asda, at the other end, say they will open 100.
What hope is there for the nation of shopkeepers?
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