Calgary more well-read than Vancouver in Amazon.com ranking

Online bookstore and retailer Amazon.com revealed today (June 10) its second-annual list of most well-read cities in Canada, and leading the pack is Calgary, Alberta.

The list, which includes 20 cities across the country, is based on sales data of all Amazon.com book sales for both print and Kindle formats between May 2013 and 2014.

Vancouver, which placed first in last year’s list, slipped to second place in 2014. Other B.C. cities named included Burnaby at number 11, Richmond at 15, and Surrey at 17.

Ontario cities appeared the most number of times on the list, occupying nine of the 20 spots. London, Ontario, which was ranked sixth, fared better than Toronto and Ottawa, which came in seventh and ninth place, respectively.

Meanwhile, Canadian prairie cities Saskatoon, Regina, and Edmonton rounded out the top-five spots on the list.

One major Canadian city was noticeably missing from the list: Montreal, which also did not appear on the list in 2013, was not included this year. The only city in Quebec to make the list was Gatineau. Halifax, Nova Scotia, which placed 19th was the only city located in Atlantic Canada that appeared.

According to an Amazon.com news release, the most popular genres in Canada’s most well-read city were science-fiction and self-help books. Calgary residents ordered the most digital books, while Vancouver readers purchased the most print books. The most popular book purchased in Calgary last year was Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave, a story that also happened to win the Oscar for Best Picture at the 2014 Academy Awards.

In Vancouver, the top book purchased was Soul Healing Miracles: Ancient and New Sacred Wisdom, Knowledge, and Practical Techniques for Healing the Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, and Physical Bodies by Zhi Gang Sha. The book provides readers with spiritual wisdom and techniques for soul enlightenment.

Amazon.com's top-20 most well-read cities in Canada 2014:

1. Calgary, Alberta

2. Vancouver, British Columbia

3. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

4. Regina, Saskatchewan

5. Edmonton, Alberta

6. London, Ontario

7.Toronto, Ontario

8. Winnipeg, Manitoba

9. Ottawa, Ontario

10. Kitchener, Ontario

11. Burnaby, British Columbia

12. Mississauga, Ontario

13. Gatineau, Quebec

14. Windsor, Ontario

15. Richmond, British Columbia

16.Markham, Ontario

17. Surrey, British Columbia

18. Brampton, Ontario

19. Halifax, Nova Scotia

20. Hamilton, Ontario

Comments (1) Add New Comment
Hazlit
What would be interesting to know is further information on the total print book purchases in Canadian cities. For example--Vancouverites buy a lot of print books online. Okay. If you included print book purchases at brick and mortar stores where would Vancouver fall? My sense is that while Vancouver is a bit of a resort town, under the radar there's a cohort of serious pro-print readers.

The information in the list is also potentially misleading because perhaps (and I think it likely) that Montreal simply has a number of people who buy French language books from a number of different sources. This dispersed data from Montreal makes them look like they don't read much, which I think is false.

My image of Calgary, on the other hand (though I've never been there and have no particular interest in going) is that the city is composed mostly of people who work in the energy industry ; I imagine people mostly interested in energy prices, getting rich, being holier-than-thou towards the rest of Canada, and not much else. I would be surprised to find a large number of thoughtful, open-minded, curious people--e.g. voracious readers.

Since the list doesn't break out number of purchases relative to the metro population it's hard to draw any useful conclusions. What if some prof assigned 12 Years A Slave to her class of twenty and the rest of Calgary hasn't read an actual book in years? Based on the data, that's possible.
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