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Reading Richmond

Amazon ranks the city based on book sales. Next year, let’s crush Dayton, Ohio.

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Dear Richmond:

Amazon.com officially thinks you’re better read than two Florida localities, along with a bunch of other places that are either so small or doltish they don’t even bear mentioning.

Today the online book seller released its now-annual ranking of the top 20 best read cities in America. Richmond made its debut on the list last year, coming in at the bottom. This year we move up two spots to 18, beating out Clearwater, Fla., and Tallahassee, Fla., respectively. (Eat it, Floridians.)

But really, should we care? Is this a sign of our rising intellectual superiority? Probably not. On top of being an obvious and shameless publicity stunt for the company, Amazon doesn’t tell us much about the rankings beyond saying they’re based on sales data. And the details they do release wouldn’t exactly make an editor at the New York Review of Books swoon. Take the best sellers that catapulted Alexandria to the top of the list. Amazon tells us: “Blockbuster novel ‘Gone Girl’ was the best-selling book overall in Alexandria, Va., followed by the three titles in the “Fifty Shades” trilogy.”

We could be just as proud if Netflix ranked us on a list of cities based on the number of “Law and Order” reruns watched.

Without further comment, here is Amazon’s list:

1. Alexandria, Va.

2. Knoxville, Tenn.

3. Miami

4. Cambridge, Mass.

5. Orlando, Fla.

6. Ann Arbor, Mich.

7. Berkeley, Calif.

8. Cincinnati

9. Columbia, S.C.

10. Pittsburgh

11. St. Louis

12. Salt Lake City

13. Seattle

14. Vancouver, Wash.

15. Gainesville, Fla.

16. Atlanta

17. Dayton, Ohio

18. Richmond, Va.

19. Clearwater, Fla.

20. Tallahassee, Fla.

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