Friday, May 27, 2011

Cincinnati one of the most "well-read" cities in the U.S.

Yesterday Amazon released its list of the "Top 20 Most Well-Read Cities in America", which was based on sales of books, ebooks, and other word-based media since January 1*. On it are some cities you would expect: Cambridge, Berkeley, Seattle, and Washington, DC. Much to my pleasant surprise, sitting one spot ahead of our soon to be streetcar sister city Portland, is our beloved Queen City.

Reflecting on it, my surprise was really ill-founded. It was based on stereotypes and misconceptions about cities in the Midwest, in general, and Cincinnati, in particular. Despite what the naysayers might claim, Cincinnati is not a cultural wasteland. Like any other city, this one can not exist (or at least thrive) based solely on business and sports. Creative people are drawn to creative outlets and without either, you can't have a successful city.

I haven't lived here long enough to make any time-based comparison, but I can say that our library system is phenomenal. Not only is the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Public library one of the largest, most accessible large library networks I've ever had the fortune of visiting, but we are also graced with its older sister, the Mercantile Library. It is one of the most relaxing, peaceful places in an urban area that I've ever visited and it even manages to host a great collection. If you're not a member there, you need to be. At least give it a visit. You'll probably never see anything like it anywhere else.

In addition to literature, the rest of Cincinnati's art scene continues to thrive. I dare you to go to an OTR Final Friday (TONIGHT!)and walk the galleries then catch a show (and have a drink) at MOTR and then tell me Cincinnati is a cultural wasteland. You just can't do it. The people who denigrate this fine city have either never spent time here or haven't done so in the recent past.

As is indicated by this study, Cincinnati, the Queen City of the U.S., and its population will not conform to the negative stereotypes of misconceptions of people who have no stake in its/their success. Since moving here I have met more smart, cultured, positive people than I ever expected. These people are the present and the future of this city and they are the reason, in addition to the institutions listed above, that this city will continue to thrive and be a place people want to work and live.

If you ask me, I'll take Cincinnati over Cambridge, Berkeley, or Washington D.C. any day of the week and I doubt I'm the only one that feels that way.

Via: Education

*I have some qualms about the methodology used to create this list, but that's neither here nor there.


  1. There is no doubt that Cincy is NOT a cultural wasteland. Our independent music scene is great, and we have Ohio Book Store to browse through--as well as the library system.

  2. Agreed. I love the Ohio Book Store. I can spend hours in there. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get back in there!

  3. Hey, you guys over there do all the hard work, so it's only fair to give you the recognition you deserve.

  4. Wonder how we rank on comic book sales.....

  5. Mercantile is the coolest place....