Want to work at a bookstore in Scotland? This residency may be for you

Through the Open Book Residency, members of the public are invited to come work in a bookstore in Wigtown, Scotland, for several weeks.

Ann Hermes
A bestsellers bookshelf sits at The Book Cellar in Chicago, Illinois.

Have you ever been curious about what it would be like to run a bookstore?

The Open Book Residency in Scotland could be for you.

The Wigtown Festival Company, which is behind the annual Wigtown Book Festival that’s located in what Wigtown’s website says is designated as “Scotland’s National Book Town,” is the sponsor of the residency. Anyone can apply to live in and be in charge of a local bookstore that has been retitled The Open Book for the residency (preference is given to applicants that are "artists, writers, thinkers, and bibliophiles," according to the Wigtown Festival Company). This year the residency began as the Festival started. (The Festival ran from Sept. 26 to Oct. 5).

Those who participate will learn what’s involved with the job. The Company requests that the store be open a certain number of hours per week and that the person in charge blogs about the experience. That person would be in charge of the store for a maximum of six weeks.

“[The project] is designed to bring new creative talent to Wigtown and to raise awareness of issues facing booksellers everywhere,” the website for the Open Book Residency reads.

According to the Bookseller, American writer Jessica Fox was part of the impetus for the idea. She left a job in California and came to live in Wigtown to work at a bookstore several years ago. She’s still living there now. 

“Coming to Wigtown was a life-changing experience for me,” Fox told the Bookseller. “I hope that it will have a similar effect on people taking part in the next 12 months.” 

Adrian Turpin, director of the Wigtown Festival Company, said the project is all about trying out new things in the world of bookselling in an electronic age.

“For many booklovers, the idea of running a bookshop is a dream,” he told the Bookseller. “But it can be a tough lifestyle and one that demands dedication and inventiveness, as the many bookshops in Scotland’s Book Town show. The Internet has had a huge effect on booksellers. The Open Book project is intended as an original way to examine some of the issues facing bookshops in the age of Amazon. It will also bring exciting new creative energy to the town.”

Those who would like to apply can e-mail the organizers here.

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