Lonely Planet Writer

Quirky Airbnb lets you run a bookshop in Scotland

Ever fancied yourself the owner of an independent bookshop somewhere in a quaint village by the sea? Well that fantasy could easily become a reality thanks to one Scottish Airbnb with a bit of a twist.

The Open Book in Wigtown, Scotland
The Open Book in Wigtown, Scotland Image by Airbnb

Wigtown is Scotland’s National Book Town, a town dedicated to the importance of books and reading. Set in the scenic seaside area of Galloway in South western Scotland, Wigtown has taken upon itself the task of ambassador to books and independent bookshops, and it has done something quite novel with one of its bookshops, The Open Book.

The Open Book offers guests the opportunity to run the bookshop
The Open Book offers guests the opportunity to run the bookshop Image by Airbnb

The Open Book is a bookshop and Airbnb, where interested parties can take over the bookshop for two to three weeks while staying for free in the apartment above the bookshop.

Their Airbnb page reads: “The first ever bookshop holiday / residency experience, Scotland’s National Book Town welcomes you to play bookshop owner for a week or two. We’ll give you your very own apartment and bookshop below, supported by a team of friendly volunteers to make your trip as lovely as possible.”

The Open Book is in Wigtown, Scotland's National Book Town
The Open Book is in Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town Image by Airbnb

The quirky offer allows the visitor to show up in the picturesque village of Wigtown and become part of the local community for a couple of weeks, being met by a volunteer on arrival, and helped throughout by locals to run the bookshop.

Guests get to role-play as a bookshop owner while getting to live above the shop for a minimum of a week for a very small cost. They invite their guests to add their own touch to the shop, create events, or do anything they might be interested in doing with it, after they receive initial training from one of the members of the Wigtown Festival Company.

The flat above The Open Book
The flat above The Open Book Image by Airbnb

The Open Book’s ad on Airbnb says that a car is “strongly recommend” as well as reading up on the area around Wigtown before visiting, so as to be informed.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the festival director who runs The Open Book and its project said, “I wouldn’t call it a working holiday. It’s a particular kind of holiday for people who don’t feel that running a bookshop is work.”

Wigtown is a town of 1,000
Wigtown is a town of 1,000 Image by Airbnb

If you have a love of independent bookshops and the Scottish coast, then this is your opportunity to make your dreams of being a bookshop owner come true.