Guest blog: America's most literate cities, 2009

When bookstores and newspapers everywhere are hurting, how do you decide which city reads the most?

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The 2009 results are out for the “America’s Most Literate Cities” study, and my town, Seattle, once again took first place. Last year, we tied for first with Minneapolis, and we also ranked at the top in 2005 and 2006, noted the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Hometown pride should be warming my heart, but I feel a little odd this year to see Seattle at the top. One of the factors considered in the study is newspaper circulation, and 2009 is the year that the daily paper where I worked, the 146-year-old Seattle Post-Intelligencer, stopped publishing. The number of bookstores per capita is also a consideration, and 2009 is the year one of our mainstay independents, Bailey/Coy, shut down, and our famed Elliott Bay Book Company hit financial struggles and is moving to a new neighborhood.

Other factors? The survey considers educational attainment, Internet resources, library resources, and periodical publishing resources. Maybe the Internet factor, in this region of Amazon.com and Microsoft, is where we scored an outsized hit. Or, maybe other cities faced as many literary roadblocks as we did, and we’re only doing well by comparison.

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The other cities on the top 10 list? Minneapolis, Washington D.C. , Atlanta, San Francisco, Denver, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. Paul. Here’s a link to the study – and here’s to a book-filled, super-literary 2010 for all our cities.

Rebekah Denn writes at eatallaboutit.com.

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