Sure, this a somewhat vague and slightly dubious question to ask (there are probably as many ways to “measure” a city’s appeal to a booklover as there are to define what a booklover is) but Apartment Guide has attempted to do so by working out the bookstore-library number per 100K residents, with a population floor of 50K as to what counts as a city. This is certainly a coherent way to do things, that we can all understand, but I’d love to see a deeper dive into what makes a place good for readers: Bookstore bars? Reading series’? Local MFA programs? Nice parks with nice park benches? Book festivals? Book clubs? AFFORDABLE RENT? (Ok, maybe we’ll end up doing this ourselves).
Anyway, the top two cities come as no surprise, seeing as they are the coastal capitals of the bookish elite: Cambridge (at 51 “bookish establishments” per 100K) is followed closely by Berkeley (49 per 100K). For me, the big surprises on this list are Pensacola, Florida at number three (44 per 100K, and probably due to the large military presence), and Marietta, Georgia, an outer suburb of Atlanta, at number seven (38 per 100K).
(Honestly, if I had to move to one city on this list, it would be Santa Fe.)