The best cities in the world for book lovers

The best cities in the world for book lovers

“Every year the World Cities Culture Forum collects information on how people consume culture around the world. The organization looks at factors like how many video game arcades a city has, or how much a city forks over for movie tickets each year. Led by the London mayor’s office and organized by UK consulting company Bop, the forum asks itspartner cities to self-report on cultural institutions and consumption, including where people can get books.

Over the past two years, 18 cities have reported how many bookstores they have, and 20 have reported on their public libraries.

Hong Kong leads the pack with 21 bookshops per 100,000 people, though last time Buenos Aires sent in its count, in 2013, it was the leader, with 25. New York does OK, with around 840 bookstores for 8.4 million people, but London, whose population is only slightly bigger than New York, counts only 360 stores.

rank city bookstores per 100,000 people date
1 Hong Kong 21 2014
2 Taipei 17.6 2014
3 Madrid 16 2014
4 Shanghai 16 2014
5 Toronto 13.9 2015
6 New York 10 2015
7 Sydney 9.4 2015
8 Paris 9 2015
9 Seoul 9 2015
10 Austin 8.2 2015
11 Melbourne 8 2015
12 Shenzhen 6.6 2014
13 Amsterdam 6 2014
14 Moscow 5 2014
15 London 4 2015
16 Stockholm 3.2 2014
17 Singapore 3 2014
18 Istanbul 1 2015

When it comes to libraries per capita, Edinburgh leads by quite a bit: The city reported 60 libraries for every 100,000 people. Even going back more than two years, to include cities with older data, Edinburg blew everywhere else out of the water. It has around 300 libraries total, in a city of half a million. By comparison, Hong Kong has around 300 libraries for 7 million people.

Of the cities that reported their library counts, Dubai and Istanbul lagged.

rank city libraries per 100,000 people date
1 Edinburgh 60.5 2015
2 Warsaw 11.4 2014
3 Brussels 10 2015
4 Paris 9.2 2014
5 Seoul 6 2014
6 Shenzhen 5.9 2014
7 Vienna 5.9 2014
8 Hong Kong 4.2 2015
9 London 4.2 2014
10 Moscow 4.2 2014
11 Toronto 3.9 2015
12 Melbourne 3.4 2015
13 Amsterdam 3.3 2014
14 Sydney 3.3 2015
15 New York 2.7 2015
16 Taipei 1.8 2014
17 Rome 0.8 2014
18 Singapore 0.5 2014
19 Istanbul 0.4 2014
20 Dubai 0.3 2015

Since cities self-report their data, there’s no way to enforce uniform definitions for what constitutes a bookstore. Drug stores in the US sell books, for example, as do stationery stores elsewhere, and data from New York comes from the Yellow Pages. Says Yvonne Lo, a coordinator at the forum, “We very much rely on the city to update the data and provide us the data.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: