This Week In Books

The Most Well-Read Cities in America: This Week in Books

The summer book news slowdown is upon us, but there were still a few stories of note this week. Here we go.

Goodreads Gets a Makeover

Goodreads sure doesn’t seem to be taking summer Fridays off. After announcing a couple of weeks ago that they would be making a major push into ebook deals, Goodreads this week unveiled their redesigned user homepage. With larger book covers, more information about books available without having to click, and compiling updates into a single feed, the new Goodreads experience feels quite a bit more like Facebook, for good or ill. It seems to me that the focus has subtly shifted from your friends and followers to what they are reading and talking about.

Another Brick in the Wall for the Value of Books

There are have been quite a few studies that connect the presence of books in the home to kids’ educational and life achievement. A new study suggests that having even just 10 books around the house can predict significantly higher educational achievement–to the the tune of 21% more. Even controlling for other factors, this 10-book level seems to hold up (and its effects don’t scale to 50 or 100 books). As with all such studies, we can’t know if the books themselves or what they represent (parental interest in knowledge and education, availability of reading material at all) are the root cause.

The Most Well-Read Cities in the United States

Amazon released its annual rankings of the 20 most “well-read” cities in the United States last week. It is both a fascinating and dissatisfying ranking, as it doesn’t give any hard numbers and only uses Amazon activity as the measuring stick. As you might guess, Amazon’s hometown of Seattle comes out on top, and there are a few notable absences: New York City and Chicago among them. Are these the cities that are actually more well-read per capita? Or are they for whatever reason just disproportionately doing their book, newspaper, and magazine buying through Amazon?


Thanks this week to Penguin Random House and Room and Board for sponsoring This Week in Books.


Penguin Random House and Room & Board have partnered to offer one lucky book lover the prize of their dreams: modern furniture to create a reading nook and a library of books in their favorite genres to stock it! Enter here.

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