Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises of the Printed Word” as Want to Read:
Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises of the Printed Word
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises of the Printed Word

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  193 ratings  ·  88 reviews
The so-called “Book Towns” of the world are dedicated havens of literature, and the ultimate dream of book lovers everywhere. Book Towns takes readers on a richly illustrated tour of the 40 semi-officially recognized literary towns around the world and outlines the history and development of each community, and offers practical travel advice.

Many Book Towns have emerged i
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 22nd 2018 by Frances Lincoln
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Book Towns, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Dario Many thanks for your answer, Alex.
I'm an eager reader from Argentina!
Warm regards!
Many thanks for your answer, Alex.
I'm an eager reader from Argentina!
Warm regards!

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  193 ratings  ·  88 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises of the Printed Word
Ova - Excuse My Reading
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. I was concerned that the towns suggested would only be in one continent but they aren't. Although looks like France has most book towns!
Lovely addition to the library if you're a book lover and traveler. I'll definitely try and visit this book towns - I wish I knew a few of them - Swede and Norwegian ones- as I recently wandered quite near by but didn't have a clue they were there!
Highly recommended. Also photos are amazing.

Thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing fo
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am the kind of person who goes to Portland to spend time at Powell's City of Books. I am the kind of person that when I ran out of room in my luggage, when I was in Australia, shipped as many of the books home, as I could. I'm the kind of person that, when I can, stuffs my suitcases full of books, no matter what city I visit.

So, when I saw this book about book towns, town that are gearted to lovers of books like me, I though it would be fun to read, and so it was. I knew about Hay on Wye, the
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Book Town ENVY. The pictures in this book are GORGEOUS and I want to go to every single place mentioned in this book! Heck, I want to LIVE in them all! This book will make you DROOL with how some people, and even countries, live re: book love.

The only sad thing is that there were quite a few book towns that have gotten smaller and some that have even folded up. Which leads me to why this is a 4 and not a five star book. This book is already dated I am sure. If one were to read this book more th
☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆
This was a fantastic, beautiful and informative book that I would recommend to all book lovers! I always wanted to travel one day to all the beautiful places that revolve around literature. It's amazing all the unique and beautiful places. I can't wait to the day I can travel to these places like Hay-On-Wye but for now it was fantastic to travel to all these beautiful bibliophile centered places via this book!
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-arcs, 2018
Book Towns does exactly what it says on the cover… it takes you around the world to visit various book towns giving each one around 4 pages in the book which contains a description of the towns themselves along with interesting titbits of information and stunning photography.

This is a true ‘coffee table’ book for me. Literally a fascinating non-fiction book that can be left on the coffee table and picked up and perused for a few minutes with a cuppa each time. You don’t lose your place or feel
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are two things that I love to do: travel and read books. And whenever I do travel I always keep an eye out for bookshops, book stands, and libraries. I love coming home with a book I bought on my travels. So when I came across this book with the topic of Book Towns, I was instantly intrigued. What is a book town?

In Book Town: Forty-Five Paradises of the Printed Word, the author describes a book town as "simply a small town, usually rural and scenic, full of bookshops and book-related indus
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Alex Johnson's charming book actually has a subtitle. The book is Book Towns: Forty-Five Paradises of the Printed Word. His book, with its colorful photos, is actually a travelogue for those of us who probably won't get to Australia or France or Spain, or a dozen other countries to visit the book towns. But armchair travelers who appreciate bookstores will enjoy the book.

The book towns Johnson covers are not towns devoted only to bookstores. Most of them are "A small town usually rural and sceni
Literary Soirée
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! Not knowing there was such a thing as a “Book Town,” I’m now intimately acquainted with 45 literary kingdoms across the globe ... through gorgeous photographs and inviting descriptions. A perfect gift for the bibliophile or traveler — or as a jewel of a treat for oneself. 5 Stars!

Thank you, NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group - Frances Lincoln,
for the early copy. Opinions are mine.

#BookTowns #NetGalley
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
First of all, despite being a librarian, avid reader, and all around lover of books, I had no idea that "Book Towns" were actually a thing. Second of all, I need to go to all of them. The photography and descriptions showcased in this book are truly wonderful and wanderlust inspiring. While it isn't quite the quintessential book you might find in a library, I believe this would be a wonderful addition to anyone's coffee table or personal library. Check out this book if you love books, travel, ha ...more
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous little book about book towns around the world (although they’re mostly in western Europe). I wish there had been more photos, particularly of the insides of the bookshops - what reader doesn’t love seeing bookshop interiors? It’s still very sweet though, and now I want to visit every place mentioned in the book. A great gift for a bookish friend.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Shamefully, I didn't know much about book towns. I think I had vaguely heard about them before, but that was the extent of my knowledge. Alex Johnson does an amazing job of telling us what they are, along with the history and development of each town as a book town, along with gorgeous photographs. He also gives you the addresses of the most notable buildings for each town, so it turns into a travel guide at times, which is great as I now want to go and visit all the towns! Book Towns is full of ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I now have 45 locations to visit added to my bucket list! There are a couple very small features I would change about the book, if I could do so. First, instead of featuring a quote about the location next to the write-up from that very same section, I think a small map of the book town’s location would be more beneficial. I also wish that the table of contents listed the name of the country with the city name to make referencing the passage easier at a later date. Each book town sounds like a w ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book details the history of book towns. Informative, with gorgeous photography....makes the reader long to seek out each and every bookish destination.
C.R. Elliott
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Basically the perfect book for anyone who wants a guide of where to travel without straying far from delightful books and cultural hubs where reading is appreciated, even revered. I had hoped for something a bit more gorgeous for coffee tables but the book is more travel guide than visual candy. I can see myself gifting this to my reading inclined traveling friends and relatives over the holiday season.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I now have a new ambition – to visit all the places described in this enchanting compendium of book towns all around the world. Who knew there were so many! Beautifully illustrated, this is an essential volume for every book lover, even for those who can only dream of visiting any of the towns featured.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you truly love books you will not be able to fault this book.
I know this is a bold statement and I have no wish to court controversy or cause offence. My point is this. Here is a book that that encourages the promotion of all things booky and sees that focus through the dedicated individuals who have tirelessly worked to regenerate their towns and communities by encouraging the promotion of books.
In the process these communities have reached out through selling books, attracting other arts an
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
From the publisher-
The so-called “Book Towns” of the world are dedicated havens of literature, and the ultimate dream of book lovers everywhere. Book Towns takes readers on a richly illustrated tour of the 40 semi-officially recognized literary towns around the world and outlines the history and development of each community and offers practical travel advice.

Many Book Towns have emerged in a
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

Read all my reviews on

Book Towns collects, as the name would suggest, Book Towns from all over the world. It was an interesting little book for those of us who breathe books, so to speak. I couldn't help but be attracted to them and have added several (in Belgium and The Netherlands) that I would like to visit this summer. Others I would like to visit in the future.

Every town is featured with a story, and several pictures as well as some informatio
There are just a couple of pages for each town, but they are packed with pictures, descriptions of vendors & events as well as a brief history for the area.
Just enough to pique your interest...and by golly my interest was piqued for several towns I had no knowledge of prior to these pages.
I do think this could have been even better if the author had added some personal thoughts for each town.....
Did he find any book gems while visiting any of the bookshops?
Did he stay at any of the bookish hotel
JAnn Bowers
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Alex's work on this book was amazing
The photos were beautiful and the information about each book town was compelling and captivating. If you love book stores and their history this is the book for you.
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
A fascinating insight into Book towns around the world. Who knew there were so many? I was aware of Hay-on -Wye but great to see there are many more. Something interesting on every page. It would make a great coffee table book - I think everyone would find something to grab their interest. I loved the photos, they really added to the attraction of each page. Highly recommend.
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This would be the perfect present for someone bookish! It would look great on their coffee table - the photos inside are also beautiful!

Also, I need to move to a book town.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was familiar with the "book town" of Hay on Wye in England, where there are a multitude of bookstores and a yearly book festival, but I had no idea how many book towns there were world wide. These are towns that support reading both through new and used bookstores, publisher houses, book binders, stationeers, etc. Surprising to me were how many were found in Norway- maybe that needs to be a trip for me in retirement.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book goes through, in photos and words, all the different book towns in the world. It is so enchanting! It's interesting to see how different they look from one country to another, but also interesting to hear how they started and the benefits they have added to their wee towns.

This book is now responsible for creating a whole new travel bucket list for me!

*This book was given to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review – all opinions are my own.*
Dana Stabenow
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Delightful accounting of so-called "book towns" all over the world (Pro tip: They aren't all named Hay-on-Wye) and would make a great gift for the book lover in your life. Although it will leave you looking up fares to Paju, South Korea.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
A gorgeous book showing us the beautiful towns around the world that are dedicated to the written word, ‘Book Towns’ is a must read for a reader with wanderlust.

Giving brief biographies of these places along with highlights to visit this book really gives a great perspective of these different towns, keeping it honest but also highlighting just what these towns have to offer when it comes to your literary needs. Places such as Clunes in Australia for example stands out for me for its interestin
joyce w. laudon
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Whenever I travel, be it near or far, I always look for the local bookshops where I love to browse and buy. Shakespeare and Co. in Paris, Daunt Books in London, Politics and Prose in get the idea. So, you can imagine that I might find this book appealing and indeed I do. "Book Towns" is a book about towns like Hay on Wye where there are many bookshops and book festivals. I learned that many book towns began in order to improve local economies. In this book, many such towns are visited. ...more
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Do you love books and travel? Then this is the book for you! This book takes you to 45 book towns around the world giving you some of the basic information (if their books tend to follow a certain genre, if they have certain festivals, etc.), each town has a summary box with websites for more information, directions, etc., and each town beautiful pictures of the town and surroundings.

This book put several new goals on my bucket list including:

• Climbing the Tower of Babel (built entirely from bo
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoy browsing bookshops and are a bit of a traveller at heart this is the perfect books for you! This is a pictorial version of my bucket list, a fabulous book reviewing go to places for the book lover, towns pop ups and hints on where to go for more information. Each section reviews each location, a bit of history as to why its so special and lots of photographs. The perfect gift for a book lover.
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book Towns by Alex Johnson is a beautiful history of book towns from around the world! A must read for book lovers everywhere! Packed with information and real photos, Book Towns will transport you across countries such as France, USA, Germany, Scotland, Spain, Norway, Sweden, and even South Korea! I really enjoyed learning about each book town and I was surprised at some of the cities! Also included at the end of the book are towns that are not officially labeled as book towns, but they should ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: please combine two editions 2 15 May 09, 2018 12:54PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Ultimate Cartoon Book of Book Cartoons
  • Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany
  • The Serious Goose
  • You're Mom: A Little Book for Mothers (And the People Who Love Them)
  • あるかしら書店
  • Mindful Listening (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series)
  • Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores: True Tales and Lost Moments from Book Buyers, Booksellers, and Book Lovers
  • Emotional Intelligence: Empathy
  • The War Bride's Scrapbook
  • Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty
  • Building Products for the Enterprise: Product Management in Enterprise Software
  • Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse (Dumpty, #1)
  • Lost Cities
  • Moonshine, Vol. 1
  • Terminal City (Alexandra Cooper, #16)
  • Moonshine, Vol. 2: Misery Train
  • Purpose, Meaning, and Passion (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series)
  • The Global Economy as You've Never Seen It: 99 Ingenious Infographics That Put It All Together
See similar books…
Latest book: Shed Manual (Haynes, 2019)
Next book: Edward Lear & The Pussycat: Famous Writers and Their Pets (August, 2019)
Next book after that: Menus That Made History (Kyle/Octopus, September, 2019)

I am a professional blogger and journalist, part of The Independent newspaper's online team in the UK. I run Shedworking ( which inspired the book 'Shedworking: The Alternative Wo

News & Interviews

We're halfway through the year that time forgot! Ahem...I mean, 2020. Believe it or not, it's June. Traditionally, this is when the Goodr...
148 likes · 151 comments