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Posted on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

Ann Arbor ranks sixth on 'Most Well-Read Cities' list

By Freelance Journalist

By Ben Solis
For released its third annual list of the most well-read cities in the country Wednesday, with Ann Arbor coming in sixth.

Amazon’s list is complied annually using its data of book, magazine and newspaper sales of both print and Kindle format materials on a per-capita basis in cities of more than 100,000 population as of June 1, 2012.

Last year, Ann Arbor placed fourth. The 2013 list ranks Ann Arbor behind Alexandria, Va.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Miami, Fla.; Cambridge, Mass.; and Orlando, Fla..

The list “is proof that the country is reading,” Sara Nelson, Amazon's editorial director of books and Kindle, said in a press release.

Ann Arbor's most-purchased book was "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn.

Although a drop in ranking might give the appearance that citizens in Ann Arbor are reading less, an Amazon spokesperson said that the list is based purely on sales, as opposed to the literacy of the city.

With that in mind, are Ann Arbor’s residents buying more books locally than online?

Nicola Rooney, owner of Nicola’s Books, located at 2513 Jackson Ave., said yes and no. For Rooney, any upswing in sales locally has mostly to do with the closure of the downtown Borders bookstore.

Rooney added that some customers appreciate talking to human beings with expertise rather than relying on a computer picking suggestions.

“Places like us have something else to offer,” she said. “Convenience is one thing, but talking to another human being, some who is skilled in the art of what they are doing, is helpful.”

Said Nelson, "The results of our annual Most Well-Read Cities list shows that Ann Arbor continues to have a healthy appetite for reading year over year. We love people who are as passionate about reading as we are - so, we’re proud that Ann Arbor is part of our tribe. And we hope Ann Arborites are proud of it, too."

Amazon's full top 20 list:

1. Alexandria, Va.
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.
11. St. Louis, Mo.
12. Salt Lake City, Utah
13. Seattle, Wash.
14. Vancouver, Wash.
15. Gainesville, Fla.
16. Atlanta, Ga.
17. Dayton, Ohio
18. Richmond, Va.
19. Clearwater, Fla.
20. Tallahassee, Fla.



Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

So is Florida the "Most Well-Read State" since 25% of the cities that made this list are in Florida?

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

Chris--- I agree. This is a college town home to a few schools, so students are ordering their books online. There are also lots of retirees in the area. That said, I don't know it its fair to count the cities with the most amazon orders as the better read than others- library systems and availability of affordable books stores play a role in the reading landscape of a town.


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

With respect to Florida, note that two of those towns have large universities, and one of those is also the state capital. Universities help drive the book industry, often times you have to even by your own professor's book for a class, imagine that?


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

My guess is those towns have high retiree populations with lots of time to read books. I'd read three books a week if I had no other commitmnents, like work and raising children.


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 9:13 p.m.

Speaking of reading... Make that: It doesn't say WHAT they're reading.


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

It doesn't WHAT they're reading, does it?

David Cahill

Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 7:45 p.m.

Well, at least we beat Berkeley. And Boulder isn't on the list at all!


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 10:49 p.m.

But Boulder's still #1 in our Mayor's heart.


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 9:03 p.m.

Don't gloat. Boulder's population is just under 100,000.


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 6:09 p.m.

How many of those books had their sales tax paid on them?

Rachel Barsch

Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

Rooney's assessment makes sense. I am a bit surprised at some of the cities that rank about Ann Arbor, but not surprised about Ben Solis being published by He is the real thing.