Alexandria #1 'Well-Read' City in the Nation, Amazon Says

'Inferno' by Dan Brown was the best-selling book overall in Alexandria from April 2013 to April 2014.

Author Dan Brown's 'Inferno' was the best-selling book in Alexandria from April 2013 to April 2014, according to Amazon. Photo courtesy of the publisher
Author Dan Brown's 'Inferno' was the best-selling book in Alexandria from April 2013 to April 2014, according to Amazon. Photo courtesy of the publisher

To kick off the summer reading season, Amazon.com this week announced its fourth annual list of the Most Well-Read Cities in America. Guess which city came out on top?

Alexandria is the #1 "Most Well-Read" City in the nation, according to Amazon. This makes it the third year in a row that Alexandria has run away with the #1 spot on the list. 

That means that Alexandria purchased the most books, magazines and newspapers both in print and online.

Inferno by Dan Brown was the best-selling book overall in Alexandria, followed by Divergent by Veronica Roth and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Divergent was the most-read book by Goodreads users in Alexandria.

The ranking was determined by compiling sales data of all book, magazine and newspaper sales in both print and Kindle format from April 2013 to April 2014, on a per capita basis in cities with more than 100,000 residents. The Top 20 Most Well-Read Cities are:

1. Alexandria, Va.

2. Miami, Fla.

3. Knoxville, Tenn.

4. Seattle, Wash.

5. Orlando, Fla.

6. Ann Arbor, Mich.

7. Berkeley, Calif.

8. Cambridge, Mass.

9. Cincinnati, Ohio

10. Columbia, S.C.

11. St. Louis, Mo.

12. Pittsburgh, Penn.

13. Vancouver, Wash.

14. Salt Lake City, Utah

15. Atlanta, Ga.

16. Gainesville, Fla.

17. Dayton, Ohio

18. Clearwater, Fla.

19. Richmond, Va.

20. Tallahassee, Fla.

In taking a closer look at the data, Amazon also found that:
  • While Alexandria bought the most books overall, Cambridge, Mass. bought the most print books, and Knoxville, Tenn. purchased the most Kindle books.
  • Seattle, Wash.—home to Amazon.com’s corporate headquarters—made the biggest gain this year, jumping from the #13 spot in 2013 to #4.
  • Cambridge, Mass. continues to grow more budding entrepreneurs than any other city, ordering the most books in the Business & Investing category. Top titles include Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and perennial best seller StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.
  • Looking only at cities with more than 1 million residents, San Diego, Calif. is the most well-read.

“Our annual Most Well-Read Cities list shows that reading continues to be a passion for people from coast to coast,” said Sara Nelson, Editorial Director of Print and Kindle Books at Amazon.com, in a news release. “This weekend marks the start of the summer reading season, so we hope customers find a great book to enjoy and help contribute to their city’s well-read status.”

Customers can visit the Amazon Book Editors’ Summer Reading feature at www.amazon.com/summerreading, where they’ll find picks in more than 15 categories including Blockbusters and Beach Reads.


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