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Which City Has the Most Bookshops?

Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, has a highbrow reputation and is sometimes called the "Paris of the Southern Hemisphere." The birthplace of the tango, Buenos Aires is a seductive city characterized by European architecture, stylish people, and late-night revelry. Its residents get up late, and stay up late: Dinner is often served at 11 p.m. and shops stay open past midnight. Buenos Aires is also a city in love with books, with more booksellers per capita than any other city in the world. In fact, there are roughly 25 bookstores for every 100,000 residents, according to a 2015 report by the World Cities Culture Forum.

Curling up with a good book:

  • The report identified 734 bookstores in Buenos Aires, a city of 2.8 million residents. Hong Kong was second with 22 bookstores for every 100,000 people.
  • Many Buenos Aires bookshops carry rare editions, including some that are hundreds of years old -- such as a French translation of the Spanish poetry of Garcilaso de la Vega from 1650, and Gregorian chants on papyrus dating to 1722.
  • There is no sales tax on books in Argentina, but if an Argentine buys a book from a foreign retailer (like Amazon), he or she is hit with a 35 percent surcharge.
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