10 Best Cities for Book Lovers

Readers, rejoice. This list of the Best Cities for Book Lovers has your name written all over it. Find out which cities we picked and what makes them great book cities.

We may live in the age of the e-book, but we're taking things back to basics. Before Borders and Barnes and Noble, before the coming of the Kindle, there was the independent bookstore. The few local bookstores that remain in business are considered relics of an age that some predict is coming to an end. They are beloved by a customer base that appreciates the experience of hunting through narrow rows of shelves for a great read. They offer hand-selected books, mismatched armchairs and a staff of locals just dying to tell you what they read. These stores are as unique as the written works they contain. In this list we're highlighting some of the independent bookstores that are still standing and the cities that support them. We started our search by looking at cities with either iconic bookstores, huge numbers of bookstores or emphatic bookstore supporters. You can see which stores maintain the independent spirit and the cities we deem best suited for book lovers. But one cannot live on books alone. That's why the best cities for book lovers offer a great quality of life, plenty of entertainment and awesome outdoor activities. After all, there's nothing worse than reading an inspiring novel and having nothing to do after closing the cover.

Ranking Criteria

High quantity of bookstores • Independently-owned stores • Large collections of books • Events celebrating authors, writing, books

10. Charlotte, NC Population 792,137
9. Spokane, WA Population 210,695
8. Coral Gables, FL Population 50,059
7. Pueblo, CO Population 108,073
6. Traverse City, MI Population 15,168
5. Iowa City, IA Population 71,832
4. Charlottesville, VA Population 45,084
3. San Jose, CA Population 1,000,860
2. Kansas City, MO Population 467,990
1. Portland, OR Population 612,206