Virginia, Florida cities top most well-read list

Amazon rated cities across the U.S. based on how many books, magazines and newspapers their residents bought.

Story highlights

  • Alexandria, Virginia, is the most well-read city in U.S., according to rankings
  • Virginia and Florida make biggest showings on list with three cities each in the top 20
  • Rankings based on number of books, magazines, newspapers bought by Amazon customers
  • University towns and academic hubs dominate list
Virginia is for lovers, so the slogan goes -- but more specifically, it seems to be the state many book-lovers call home. customers in Alexandria, Virginia, bought the most books, magazines and newspapers in the past year, making it the most well-read city in America on a per capita basis, according to rankings from the popular e-commerce website. Two other Virginia cities were in the top 20: Arlington ranked seventh and Richmond 20th.
Titles from the romance category were the most popular among Alexandrians, Amazon said in a statement announcing its second annual list of Most Well-Read Cities.
The second most well-read city with more than 100,000 residents was Cambridge, Massachusetts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Amazon customers in the home of Harvard and MIT bought the most books in the business and investing category.
The list is full of university cities, like Berkeley, California, which came in third, with purchases of travel books at the top of customers' lists. Other academic hubs that made the cut are Ann Arbor, Michigan (No. 4), Boulder, Colorado (No. 5), Gainesville, Florida (No. 8) and Columbia, South Carolina (No. 15).
The rankings were determined by compiling the number of books, magazines and newspapers bought by Amazon customers in both print and Kindle format since June 1, 2011, and dividing that number by the city's population to determine the number of units sold on a per-capita basis, Amazon said. The formula explains why some of the nation's largest cities, like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, did not make the list, while cities that don't normally appear on top-20 lists did.
"It's great to see that we are truly a nation of readers, with representation on this list from every region of the country," Chris Schluep,'s senior editor of books, said in a statement.
The complete list:
1. Alexandria, Virginia
2. Cambridge, Massachusetts
3. Berkeley, California
4. Ann Arbor, Michigan
5. Boulder, Colorado
6. Miami, Florida
7. Arlington, Virginia
8. Gainesville, Florida
9. Washington, D.C.
10. Salt Lake City, Utah
11. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
12. Knoxville, Tennessee
13. Seattle, Washington
14. Orlando, Florida
15. Columbia, South Carolina
16. Bellevue, Washington
17. Cincinnati, Ohio
18. St. Louis, Missouri
19. Atlanta, Georgia
20. Richmond, Virginia