May 25, 2016

Seattle tops best-read-cities list


Clearly they've been reading this one to. Via

Clearly they’ve been reading this one too. Via

On May 24, 2016 citizens of the great American cities gathered in their town squares, anxiously awaiting the results of this year’s Most Well-Read Cities in America rankings. And, for the second year in a row, Seattleites rejoiced at their good fortune. Donning laurel crowns and singing of their accomplishments in dactylic hexameter, they were, indeed, the nation’s best-read citizens.

In a second, related distinction, they are also the nation’s best customers of, as the sole metric used in adjudicating the award was the number of print and digital books, magazines, and newspapers sold through the website. To see how much tribute your city paid to our country’s true ruler, you can scan the full list via GalleyCat here:

  1. Seattle, WA
  2. Portland, OR.
  3. Washington, DC
  4. San Francisco, CA
  5. Austin, TX
  6. Las Vegas, NV
  7. Tucson, AZ
  8. Denver, CO.
  9. Albuquerque, NM
  10. San Diego, CA
  11. Baltimore, MD
  12. Charlotte, NC
  13. Louisville, KY
  14. San Jose, CA
  15. Houston, TX
  16. Nashville, TN
  17. Chicago, IL
  18. Indianapolis, IN
  19. Dallas, TX
  20. San Antonio, TX

A closer look at the numbers reveals that Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train was the top seller (combined print and electronic copies) in half of the top ten readerly cities. Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was a (print) top seller in four of the top ten cities. And Austinites bought enough copies of Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto (print and electronic) to keep themselves on the map.

If you’re wondering why your city is not on the list, check the census before emailing Amazon Customer Relations; you’ll need a population of 500,000 to play. Just ask someone in Alexandria, Virginia (an Alexandrine). That fair city of 150,000 held the top spot from 2012 through 2014, when the new threshold was instituted.

Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.