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The Most Well-Read Cities in America (Are Not the Cities You’d Expect)


Quick: guess which U.S. cities read the most. If you went for the usual suspects, like New York (because of publishing) or Portland (because it rains all the time and there are a million bookstores) — you’d be wrong.

Amazon recently released its third annual list of the most well-read cities in America. They determine the list by measuring sales data of all print and Kindle sales in cities with more than 100,000 residents. So, to be fair, if you and your fellow citizens buy your newspapers the old-fashioned way and get your books at independent bookstores, your city wouldn’t show up on this list. Still, it’s an interesting look at the country from a bookworm’s point of view.

Here are the top ten:

1. Alexandria, Va.

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2. Knoxville, Tenn.

3. Miami, Fla.

4. Cambridge, Mass.

5. Orlando, Fla.

6. Ann Arbor, Mich.

7. Berkeley, Calif.

8. Cincinnati, Ohio

9. Columbia, S.C.

10. Pittsburgh, Penn.

Fifty Shades of Grey remains popular across the list, said Sara Nelson, Editorial Director of Books and Kindle. Knoxville, Tenn. made the biggest jump this year, from No. 12 in 2012 to No. 2 in 2013, with residents purchasing the most books in the Romance category.

Each city had its own distinct tastes.

“It’s fun for us to see facts like the citizens of Cambridge are buying the most books in the business category or that one of our favorite novels of 2012, Gone Girl, is the best-selling book in the Most Well-Read City, Alexandria,” Nelson said.

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(Photo Credit: katerha/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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