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Bookstore tourism is a type of cultural tourism that promotes independent bookstores as a group travel destination. It started as a grassroots effort to support locally owned and operated bookshops, many of which have struggled to compete with large bookstore chains and online retailers.
Those who promote bookstore tourism encourage schools, libraries, reading groups and other miscellaneous organizations to create day-trips and literary outings to cities and towns with a concentration of independent bookstores. Groups of various sizes around the U.S. have offered such excursions, usually via a chartered bus, and often incorporating book signings, author home tours and historical sites. They also encourage local booksellers to attract bibliophiles to their communities by employing bookstore tourism as an economic development tool. Others benefiting include local retailers, restaurants, bus companies and travel professionals. The effort also provides organizations with an outreach opportunity to support reading and literacy.
The bookselling, publishing, and motorcoach industries have recognized the concept's potential as a group travel niche and marketing tool.
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