Most Well-Read Cities: Houston, You're Probably Not Reading This

Categories: Spaced City

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Houston asks: What are these odd things?
The newest edition of an annual ranking of the nation's most well-read city has found (once again) Houston is not really big on the whole reading thing.

Of the 75 cities ranked, we come in 60th and we're fading: in 2005 we were 53rd.

Central Connecticut State University does the survey each year, tracking such things as "bookstores, educational attainment, internet resources, library resources, newspaper circulation, and periodical publication."

Washington, D.C. is number one, but trends everywhere are ominous.

"The decline in newspaper readership is stark," CCSU president Jack Miller says. "At the beginning of this survey, in 2003, newspapers in America's larger cities had a weekday circulation equivalent to 55 percent of the population of the cities; Sunday circulation was 75 percent. Now, on average, less than one third read a weekday paper and less than half read a Sunday paper."

Cities with the largest declines: Atlanta, Boston, Miami and San Francisco. (Not us!!)

Despite cutbacks in hours and, sometimes, locations, municipal libraries seem to be serving more and more people, Miller says.

"In terms of accessibility and usability, libraries remain vibrant. Even in these economically embattled times, many cities appear to be providing their citizens with rich resources for developing and maintaining literate behaviors," he says.

Which is all well and good, but where are the TVs in these libraries? People in Houston demand them!!


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6 comments
Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

"At the beginning of this survey, in 2003, newspapers in America's larger cities had a weekday circulation equivalent to 55 percent of the population of the cities; Sunday circulation was 75 percent. Now, on average, less than one third read a weekday paper and less than half read a Sunday paper."

This doesn't exactly indicate a decline in readership. It just indicates a decline in readership of the dead tree version of the newspaper. Many people have moved to reading papers online. Seven years is a long time for habits to change.

Snickers
Snickers

Why was the quote beginning "In terms of accessibility and usability..." repeated in this? Was it a reading test? Did I pass?

Kleeverhaag
Kleeverhaag

Yes, Brittanie, but leave it to the Houston Chronicle to reverse this trend. With the launch of 29-95 Paper Version, they've unlocked the pent-up demand among younger, hipper readers for another paper product.

A beautiful circle from print, to web, back to print and soon back to web.

Chef504
Chef504

My experiences living in different cities and countries has opened my eyes to the reality that Houston does tend to be a city void of avid readers. My years going to Tulane, and then living in New Orleans I seemed to be surrounded by readers. Even in bars people would take books. Houston moves very fast and that seems to be a huge factor in the book vs web wars. Houstonians like bullet points. I hate to say it but it's a snippet city. Just enough to sound like you know what your talking about, but not enough to have much passion. A great book a bottle of whiskey a baguette with some cheese and cured meat thats a great way to spend a day. Wine is acceptable also.

Snickers
Snickers

Well, this certainly doesn't make you sound like a pretentious assbag...

ribalding
ribalding

So let me see if I understand...

You know all this about Houston because when you were in college bars in uptown NOLA (4 universities in one zip code), you noticed more people reading.

Well played, Dr. Science.

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