Seattle Central Library. Photo: Jeff Wilcox.

Think of Seattle. And whether it’s or Elliott Bay Book Company or the amazing main Seattle library, reading is a core fabric of our society.

Heck, even Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s dad was a librarian for the University of Washington.

Blame the rain. People here love books, and reading.

But are we slipping when it comes to the literate index?

A new study ranking the country’s “most literate” cities puts Seattle in second place.

That’s not bad.

But here’s the deal. Seattle previously ranked number one, according to the rankings from Central Connecticut State University. Those silly political wonks in D.C. have surpassed us, taking over the first place spot for the third straight year. The ranking was compiled based on a number of factors, including number of booksellers, libraries and newspaper readership (the latter being one of Seattle’s weakest areas at a rank of #21).

In 2005, 2006 and 2009, as the chart below shows, Seattle ranked #1. At least we’re still way ahead of those bozos down in Portland where I hear they have a little bookstore in the middle of the city. So, what do you think? Are we slipping here in Seattle?

[Via The Atlantic]

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  • Guest

    How many literacy points, or “lit points,” does Seattle have? I’d like to see an objective, absolute assessment of Seattle’s literacy.

  • LonelyTraveler

    Could it be that in the home town of the Kindle, we are just reading more matter in e-book or e-newspaper formats? I am not sure that this study considered this aspect, and also not sure that a decrease in newspaper readership is a sign of being less “book-smart”.

    • ivanoats

      Yes, judging from what’s in the hands of students and staff on the 44 (Ballard to U District), it is ebooks, ebooks and more ebooks.

    • LonelyTraveler

      Also, the King County Library is the busiest library in the US ( – hardly a sign of dropping numbers of book readers.

  • ScottGreenburg

    Born and bread in Seattle (and a young 24) – I read the news everyday for free on my phone, laptop, and computer. I read books on my Kindle. Bookstores are in trouble (a shame – but they can always offer wifi and coffee) – reading in Seattle is not.

  • Adam Gering

    KINDLE TOWN. This study is flawed, they need to contact Amazon for some geo-statistics on Kindle readership. I have six Kindles, everyone in the family reads and/or listens to 3-4 books a month. This article should celebrate Seattle saving trees and enabling a new generation of readers to carry an entire library with them.

  • Jake One

    Blame freeloader who put the Redmond Town Center Borders store out of business by browsing magazines and using Wi-Fi but not buying anything.

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