The EIBF is my favourite among the many festivals (International, Fringe, jazz, TV ...) that clog up Edinburgh's streets and venues in the late summer/early autumn. It's the only time in the year when Charlotte Square garden in the west end is open to the public, and the civilised susurration of thousands of bookworms in that charming Georgian setting makes a welcome contrast to the maelstrom of the Royal Mile where Fringe "performers" and assorted mountebanks and flyer-wielding students determined to shanghai you into their show impede your passage.
Entry to the garden is free, and there's no pressure to buy a ticket for any of the events with big-name writers. I've spoken myself in the past and introduced speakers on behalf of Scottish PEN, but now I prefer to just amble in with the rest of the hoi polloi, browse the publishers' stalls in the book tents, and sit outside with a beer and a sandwich. Or inside, if it's that kind of summer.