This Is the Best City for Book Lovers

Last year, 750 million books were sold in the United States. Those are physical books and do not include books taken from libraries, downloaded onto electronic devices like Kindles or bought as books on tape. Many of these books are blockbusters. Some have been on The New York Times Best Seller list for weeks. Often these are repeat appearances by authors such as Stephen King and John Grisham. Occasionally these are joined by the autobiographies of people, including former presidents.

Apparently, the best places for book lovers vary considerably geographically. For its “2022’s Best Cities for Book Lovers,” Lawn Love considered bookstores per 100,000 people and numbers of public libraries and book clubs. The survey lists its sources as Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, BookCrossing, CareerOneStop, Everfest, IndieBound, Little Free Library, Meetup, Silent Book Club and Yelp. The 200 largest U.S. cities by population were ranked, and the list was released in November, which is National Family Literacy Month.

Cities at the top of the list were concentrated in the Northwest and California. Pasadena ranked first with a score of 42, mostly on its strength in the “books for sale” and “book swaps” categories. It was followed by Seattle, Jersey City and Eugene with scores of less than 40.

At the far end of the list, Sunrise Manor, Nevada, ranked in 200th place with a score of 1.87, while Joliet, Illinois, and Enterprise, Nevada, had scores near 2. Both Sunrise Manor and Enterprise are near Las Vegas. Cities in Nevada and Texas take up much of the bottom of the list.

There are the 20 best cities for book lovers:

  • Pasadena, Calif. (42.00)
  • Seattle, Wash. (39.99)
  • Jersey City, N.J. (37.98)
  • Eugene, Ore. (35.24)
  • New York, N.Y. (34.90)
  • Portland, Ore. (31.08)
  • Alexandria, Va. (27.90)
  • Garden Grove, Calif. (27.64)
  • Oakland, Calif. (27.45)
  • Denver, Colo. (26.89)
  • Richmond, Va. (25.71)
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (25.54)
  • Chicago, Ill. (25.32)
  • Washington, D.C. (24.99)
  • Torrance, Calif. (24.86)
  • Minneapolis, Minn. (24.74)
  • Arlington, Va. (24.19)
  • Rochester, N.Y. (23.23)
  • San Francisco, Calif. (23.14)
  • Fullerton, Calif. (22.50)

Click here to see which is the most educated city in each state.

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