May 15, 2015

How this city supports the most bookstores in the world (per capita)


buenos aires bookstoreThe World Cities Cultural Forum recently reported that Buenos Aires boasts more bookstores per capita than any other. It has 735 bookstores for a population of 2.8 million (in city limits). Not bad! There are 25 bookstores for every 100,000 people.

According to an article by Dennis Abrams of Publishing Perspectives, second place goes to Hong Kong. The city offers 22 bookstores for every 100,000 people. London, Paris, New York, Madrid, and Moscow weren’t too shabby, either.

What’s the secret to sustaining so many bookstores?

Can’t hurt to have a few local authors like Borges, Cortazar, or Aira nearby. You can make it difficult to bring imported books through customs. Or, if you’re an overachieving city like Buenos Aires, consider repurposing your tanks as “weapons of mass instruction.”


Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.