Best Places to Live

2010 10 Best Cities for Book Lovers

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
  • 9

    Spokane , WA

    Population: 210,695

    Courtesy of Tiffany Williams under a CC 2.0 license.

    If your idea of an ideal bookstore involves squishy chairs and a warm, cozy atmosphere, then Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane, WA is for you. It has proclaimed itself Spokane's Literary Landmark, and we think it just might be right. But if your idea's lean more towards the modern store, the comic book shop or the used bookstore, the city's got plenty of each of those to go around. There are more than 20 bookstores in Spokane and surrounding areas.

    Where to go: Auntie's Bookstore

    Authors who lived here: Sherman Alexie, David Eddings, Kenn Nesbitt

    Check out other shopping in Spokane.