Top 20 Most Well-Read Cities: Did Your City Make the List?

Salt Lake City photo by Vincent Fazzi

Salt Lake City is Number 14 on’s top 20 most well-read cities. (Photo by Vincent Fazzi)

Alexandria, Va., is America’s most well-read city for the third year in a row, according to Miami was second, and Knoxville, Tenn., came third. Salt Lake City—my adopted city—was ranked Number 14.

The rankings are based on the online retailer’s book, magazine, and newspaper sales in both print and Kindle formats, from April 2013 to April 2014, on a per capita basis in cities with more than 100,000 residents.

College Towns are Well-Read

It’s not surprising that Alexandria, Va., is on top of the list. A suburb of Washington, D.C., it’s home to many federal government employees, as well as students and academics from Georgetown University, American University, and Howard University. The other highly ranked cities are also college towns: Seattle, Wash. (#4); Ann Arbor, Mich. (#6); Berkeley, Calif. (#7); and Cambridge, Mass. (#8).

Similarly, the academic community at the University of Utah invigorates Salt Lake City. The city is also teeming with young families who are active users of public libraries.

Alexandria bought the most books overall. The best-selling books in that city are all fiction titles: “Inferno” by Dan Brown, “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, and “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. Cambridge bought the most print books, while Knoxville bought the most Kindle books.


J. Willard Marriott Library photo by Vincent Fazzi

J. Willard Marriott Library is the University of Utah’s main library. (Photo by Vincent Fazzi)

Most Well-Read Cities

Here are the top 20 most well-read cities in America. Out of the 20 cities, five are in Florida, making it the most well-read state based on this list. Did your city make the list?

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, Pa.

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.

To read’s press release about the list, click here.

All photos by Vincent Fazzi.

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