News & Politics

Seattle Replaces Alexandria as “Most Well-Read” City After Amazon Changes Methodology

Hey. guess where Amazon is based.

Photographs of Seattle's Space Needle (by Andrew Zarivny) and Alexandria's George Washington Masonic National Memorial (by Joe Ravi) via Shutterstock.

Seattle is the “Most Well-Read” city in the US, Amazon announced Tuesday. The District was the fifth-best-read city on Amazon’s list, which compiled data based on sales books and magazines, in both print and electronic formats, from the retailer between April 2014 and April 2015. (DC did beat Seattle in one regard: It was the city with the “most purchases of print books,” Amazon says.)

Seattle’s ascendance knocks off the three-time reigning champion, Alexandria. Did Seattle—home to Amazon—just start reading its brains out?

Not necessarily. In previous years, the Most Well-Read list looked at per-capita sales in cities with more than 100,000 residents. Alexandria has 150,575 residents according the US Census Bureau’s most recent estimate (full disclosure: I am one). This year’s list looks only at cities with more than 500,000 residents. “As the reigning champions for the past three years, our well-read city is flattered to be in the same league as Seattle,” Claire Mouledoux of Visit Alexandria, the city’s tourism office, tells Washingtonian.

Alexandria remains, according to Amazon, one of the nation’s most romantic cities, in a list that looked at “purchases of romance novels and relationship books…romantic comedy movies…a curated list of romantic music…as well as the sales of sexual wellness products.” That list examined cities with populations of more than 100,000. Seattle was among the cities that “lost that lovin’ feeling,” the retailer wrote, “falling off the top 20 this year.”

Amazon did not reply to a request for comment on why it changed the survey’s methodology.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.