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This village was a book capital. What happens when people stop buying so many books?

Washington Post: “REDU, Belgium — Nearly 40 years ago, books saved this village. The community was shrinking fast. Farming jobs had disappeared and families were moving away from this pastoral patch of French-speaking Belgium. But in the mid-1980s, a band of booksellers moved into the empty barns and transformed the place into a literary lodestone. The village of about 400 became home to more than two dozen bookstores — more shops than cows, its boosters liked to say — and thousands of tourists thronged its charming streets. Now, though, more than half the bookstores have closed. Some of the storekeepers died, others left when they could no longer make a living. Many who remain are in their 70s and aren’t sure what’ll happen after they’re gone. It’s not just the businesses at risk. It’s Redu’s identity…”

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