Top Ten Most Well-Read Cities in America

Amazon compiled a list of 20 cities based on their sales of printed and Kindle format book, magazine, and newspaper sales for the first 5 months of 2011. Only cities with populations over 100,000 were used.

Amazon’s rather arrogant assumption is that their sales data reflects the reading habits of all American readers, including library users and others who do not buy reading material from Amazon but do indeed read regularly. Perhaps their data does represent a liable random sample similar to the Nelson ratings, perhaps not.  The problem is better data is not available since,

Book Publishers and Bookstores are notoriously
stingy with statistical data for the buying habits
and demographics of their consumers.

My point?
If Amazon is the only one compiling and sharing data, then their statistics are all we have to use. (Just another nail in the coffin for traditional publishing practices.)
So on with my Top Ten Tuesday List:

Top Ten Most Well-Read Cities in America

1. Cambridge, Massachusetts

2. Alexandria, Virginia

3. Berkeley, California

4. Ann Arbor, Michigan

5. Boulder, Colorado

6. Miami, Florida

7. Salt Lake City, Utah

8. Gainesville, Florida

9. Seattle, Washington

10. Arlington,Virginia

Cities 11 through 20 on Amazons list; Knoxville, TN; Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PE; Washington DC; Bellevue, WA; Columbia, SC; St. Louis, MO; Cincinnati, OH; Portland, OR.

Leave a comment


  1. Bobbie

     /  07/12/2011


    • I wondered too. I guess not so many in the Land of Lincoln followed his example. Didn’t they teach us in school that supposedly Lincoln loved to read and for walked miles to borrow a book? Or was that Washington?

      Perhaps it’s because of our over abundance of corrupt politicians who are to busy counting bribe money to read? LOL

  2. Paulter

     /  07/12/2011

    Nice article.
    Looks like Illinois has some catching up to do

  3. Karen W.

     /  07/12/2011

    So what would be the advantage for publishers and book stores to be stingy with their data, I wonder?

    • There has been much discussion about this in blogs and it can be hard to separate opinion from fact. This is the understanding I sorted out of all the talk.
      Some say the Publishers/Booksellers do not collect the data in the first place. Amazon is all about data.
      Many (including me) think it’s a power issue. Big Publishers are one of the last strong holds of elitism power, They get to sit shotgun as gatekeepers to “who gets published” and what kind of books they and booksellers want published. They don’t want to have to decide this by what’s fair or what Readers want. They TELL Readers what they should read by what is put on the shelf. They wont waste time on book that they think will be a middle-of-the-road seller even though many readers might love it. They want bestsellers. (Although any reader knows their track record isn’t great.)

      If they share statistics and data Authors and Readers might not be happy with the status quo.

      I think it’s similar to companies that do not let employees know the pay scale system. It all has to be hush-hush because it might not be based merit or seniority, education, but on their whim or who’s boffing who. Employers gets loud and angry if they find out they aren’t getting paid as much as the bimbo who cant type.

      Some aspects of this will be addressed in my July 29th blog about the growing amount of Self-Published eBooks in the top 100 best selling Kindle Books.

      There is an exciting and rather nasty revolution going on in the Publishing World right now. In the end the winners will be Readers and Authors of ebooks as well as printed books.


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