Mr. Wilton’s essay is excellent.
“Like Parks I don’t understand why we need to include a city of publication in the bibliographic entry for a book,...”
Let me see if I can come up with a plausible reason to use place of publication in footnotes.
When a text, say a Terry Pratchett novel, is published simultaneously in more than one country, as has happened, copy editors adjust language to suit multiple local readerships.
Minor, but sometimes significant, changes are made to the original text. BE ‘bog roll’ might be changed to ‘toilet paper’ to make the meaning of a phrase more accesible to an AE reader.
The publisher and date might both be, for example, Macmillan, 2008, but London vs. New York might be useful information. If such editorial practices extend to the Spanish-speaking
world, a Madrid edition of a work might include ‘tener enchufe’(to have influence, be well-connected), while that would be changed to a less sexually suggestive ‘tener palancas’ in Mexico, ‘tener palanca’ or ‘tener acomodo’ in Argentina,
‘tener rosca’ in Columbia, ‘tener muñeca’ in Bolivia, etc. Place of publication in a footnote would explain the choice of colloquialism, regardless of the author’s nationality.
Another reason--this one more of a stretch--might be historical context. Place names change with wars, moving borders and other collateral damage. If a work was published in Kiev, that might explain some attitudes contained in the text,
whereas an imprint from Kyiv could carry different contextual baggage. Ditto Volgograd and Stalingrad.