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Amazon Reveals List of Biggest Book-Buying Cities in the US

4814248153_aca54088d0_bOn Monday Amazon announced its annual list of what it would call the most well-read cities in the US, only that’s not quite what the list says.

Do you know how the mainstream press likes to take limited book publishing industry stats and misinterpret them as representing the entire book market?

Amazon is setting up the press to make a similar error today with its "Most Well-Read Cities in America" list.

The retailer has compiled a list of the 20 US metro areas with the highest concentrations in "purchases of all books, magazines and newspapers in both Kindle and print format from April 2015 to April 2016" per capita. (You can find the list at the end of the post.)

They’re calling it a list of well-read cities, but as you can see from Amazon’s description, this list only reflects the buying habits of Amazon’s customers and not anyone’s actual reading habits.

It doesn’t reflect books checked out of the library, or bought from other sources. Heck it doesn’t tell us anything about reading habits at all, just where Amazon’s customers are located.

If you want to assemble a list of cities which are actually well-read then you’d need to use a data source which touches on reading rather than book buying. Isn’t it a shame Amazon doesn’t own a social network which could give them that data?

P.S. The city in the lead image is Toronto, yes. That was an intentional joke.

  1. Seattle, Wash.
  2. Portland, Ore.
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. San Francisco, Calif.
  5. Austin, Texas
  6. Las Vegas, Nev.
  7. Tucson, Ariz.
  8. Denver, Colo.
  9. Albuquerque, N.M.
  10. San Diego, Calif.
  11. Baltimore, Md.
  12. Charlotte, N.C.
  13. Louisville, Ky.
  14. San Jose, Calif.
  15. Houston, Texas
  16. Nashville, Tenn.
  17. Chicago, Ill.
  18. Indianapolis, Ind.
  19. Dallas, Texas
  20. San Antonio, Texas

image by Greg Knapp

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jim heskett May 24, 2016 um 9:31 am

seattle and portland make sense to be at the top, since it rains all the time in those cities.

Smart Debut Author May 24, 2016 um 10:00 am

Notably absent: NYC.

Seems the home of traditional publishing does more pontificating about culture than reading.

Indianapolis #18 on Amazon’s ‘Well-Read Cities’ list; NYC conspicuously absent – TeleRead News: E-books, publishing, tech and beyond May 24, 2016 um 10:50 am

[…] has released a list of what it calls the “Top 20 Most Well-Read Cities” in the US. While some could quibble with the propriety of calling a city “well-read” based merely on how much reading matter it buys from Amazon—as […]

DaveMich May 24, 2016 um 10:57 am

Assuming that it’s not per-capita it doesn’t prove anything at all except that they sell more books to larger cities than to smaller ones.

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