Amazon recently compiled sales data from the first five months of 2011 of both printed and e-books to come up with its "Most Well-Read Cities in America." Here they are:
1. Cambridge, MA 2. Alexandria, VA 3. Berkeley, CA 4. Ann Arbor, MI 5. Boulder, CO 6. Miami, FL 7. Salt Lake City, UT 8. Gainesville, FL 9. Seattle, WA 10. Arlington, VA 11. Knoxville, TN 12. Orlando, FL 13. Pittsburgh, PA 14. Washington, DC 15. Bellevue, WA 16. Columbia, SC 17. St. Louis, MO 18. Cincinnati, OH 19. Portland, OR 20. Atlanta, GA
It's interesting to note that there are some strong college cities in this list, including Cambridge MA. Cities, especially college cities, might be expected to have some good bookstores in the area. Unfortunately there are no figures comparing brick-and-mortar store sales to online store sales, but it's not hard to imagine that a creeping change of how books are sold and how people read is going on. Just this month at Amazon's yearly meeting, Jeff Bezos announced that Kindle books were outselling print books on Amazon. Is this a good thing?
I love my Kindle. I love being able to almost instantly have the new book I want to read -- instant gratification. At the same time, a) I can spend a lot of money if I'm not careful; and b) as wonderful as the Kindle is, the e-books still have disadvantages over DTBs (dead tree books). I can't share the book easily (although Amazon is instituting some sort of lending policy), and I wonder what would happen if my Kindle died. Well, my books are stored "in the cloud" but I'd still have to purchase another Kindle, and I'd lose my PDFs and other documents. DTBs also have problems, most notably that they take space to store.
One can't stand in the way of an oncoming train. What do you think of changes in publishing?