Follow VisitScotland

Fully booked

Press Release   •   Sep 27, 2017 10:39 BST

Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway - home of The Open Book

A Scottish ‘holiday bookshop’ – the only one of its kind in the world – is booked solid every day until the year 2020, it has been revealed.

The Open Book in Wigtown – which people pay to run for a fortnight while living in the flat above the shop – has proved such a ‘bestseller’ that a Chinese company has contacted creator Jessica Fox with the aim of opening its own version in Asia.

Jessica will recount the story of her success at InnovateLiterature, which has been organised by the Business Events team at VisitScotland as part of its INNOVATETHENATION talk series.

INNOVATETHENATION brings together experts, influencers and the next generation of pioneers and innovators in a series of engaging talks throughout the country.

Taking place in Wigtown during the town’s Book Festival, InnovateLiterature will also hear from Laura Jones, co-founder of alternative publisher 404 Ink, Amina Shah, Director of Programme at the Scottish Book Trust, and Jenni Steele, Creative Industries Manager at VisitScotland.

Following on from previous talks such as InnovateFilm and InnovateEducation, InnovateLiterature will provide a networking opportunity for industry leaders and the business events sector, while also celebrating Scotland’s creative vibrancy.

Jessica’s story is worthy of a novel. Nine years ago, while working as a storyteller for space agency NASA in California, she had a dream “to work in a Scottish bookshop by the sea”.

A quick internet search threw up The Bookshop in Wigtown – owned by Shaun Bythell – and, within a few months, Jessica had left Pasadena to start a new life in Dumfries and Galloway.

She said: “It sounds like a romantic comedy, but I kept dreaming of working in a bookshop by the sea. I could see it as clear as day – right down to the rain outside.

“Wigtown is an amazing, unique place. It has a population of only 900 but it has 16 bookshops and they welcome people from around the world with open arms. I thought, ‘I’m sure I’m not the only crazy American out there who’d love to run a bookshop’ and that’s how The Open Book was born. People book through Airbnb and we’ve been overwhelmed by its success. I’m looking forward to sharing my story at InnovateLiterature.”

Fiona MacKinnon, Business Events Manager at VisitScotland and chair of the panel discussion, said: “InnovateLiterature is a chance for the industry to hear compelling stories and to engage with literature in Scotland. We are delighted to have an outstanding line-up of speakers, each of whom has been inspired to work in this industry in unique and innovative ways.

“InnovateLiterature provides the opportunity to engage with ambassadors from the Scottish literary industry to work together in attracting business events to come to Scotland. When business events in the field of literature are held here, we welcome international delegates from far and wide, but also shine a light on the incredible work being done collaboratively with writers, publishers, Creative Scotland, the Scottish Book Trust, and the other literary bodies in Scotland.

“Such events offer opportunities for inward investment and strengthen our position as a centre of excellence on the global stage. We want to ensure that Scotland remains prominent on an international level in the field of literature, further benefitting the industry for years to come.”

InnovateLiterature will be held at Wigtown Book Festival on Thursday 28 September at 4.30pm. To book a free place, go to 

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017