Alexandria, Virginia: the most well-read city in America

April 24, 2013

Important word-nerd news: In its third annual ranking of the Most Well-Read Cities in our great nation, Amazon has crowned Alexandria, Virginia, number one for the second year in a row. To celebrate, perhaps the Alexandrians will take their smarty-pants selves down to Richmond, which earned the less impressive but not entirely shabby #18 spot.

Hooray for you, Alexandria! Alexandrians, as you know, have a long and storied (book pun!) heritage of literature-loving. Alexandria’s name-twin in Egypt was once home to the creatively named Library of Alexandria, the greatest archive of information in the ancient world. That is, until its destruction by persons unknown (cough cough Julius Caesar cough). Point is, now our dear Virginian city Alexandria is carrying the banner. Sic semper tyrannis, indeed.

“How does Amazon determine this ranking?” demand outraged citizens of the District, appalled at having been outdone by their Virginian neighbors. Well, they were going to have a swimsuit competition but the weather has been so weird and no one had been to the gym in a while so they were just like, eh, let’s compile sales data of all book, magazine and newspaper sales of both the dead-tree and Kindle variety since June 1, 2012. Only cities with over 100,000 residents qualified, so, do with that information what you will, small-town book snobs.

As for what’s got all those Alexandria kids burning the midnight Kindle battery, the best-selling book overall in that metropolis was Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl,” followed by, yup, the Twilight fan-fiction that apparently has a longer shelf life than actual vampires, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy.


“Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy by best-selling author E L James. (AP Photo/Vintage Books, File)
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