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Old 04-17-2011, 01:25 PM
 
Location: New York NY
4,147 posts, read 5,989,583 times
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I always think of NYC as a real well-read city. Not because publishing is a big industry here, or becuse we have a lot of college graduates ( I think DC has more per capita) but because we have so many people commuting on mass transit. On any given subway or bus lots of people are reading--everything from Kindles to papaerbacks, to free throwaway dailies--because there's nothing else much to do on a long ride. All those people reading is something I've only noticed on cities with lots of mass transit.

Obviously I can't see into private cars, but same friend said that books on tapes are big in LA for sure and maybe other area. That true?

Or does more mass transit (NYC, DC, Chitown, Boston, SF) translate into more readers and a more well-read town? I dont neccessarily think of Sunbelt, driving cities as well-read. But is there a link between the time spent in cars and the overall literacy of a place? Does mass transit boost literacy in a way?
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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I would say that it doesn't. Example:
Seattle: Lacking great mass transit, most literate city in the U.S.
Atlanta: Very good mass transit, one of the bottom cities on the list
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
2,594 posts, read 3,357,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citylove101 View Post
Obviously I can't see into private cars, but same friend said that books on tapes are big in LA for sure and maybe other area. That true?
I don't know the answer to your thread title, but regarding books on tape, yes that's true. I know lots of people that are into books on tape out here as opposed to other places where I lived where it was mostly truck drivers.
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:50 PM
 
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LA is considered the "biggest book-buying city in America." Kinda an awkward title but it means that the LA region is the largest book market in the US.

The Weekend Escape Plan - Los Angeles -- New York Magazine

Maybe people just buy books to put them on shelves? I don't know. (I'm not a big novel guy myself...)

Also, people in LA listen to talk radio while driving, which is our version of subway reading. Public radio is especially huge here and an important part of the local information landscape.
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Old 04-17-2011, 02:31 PM
 
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The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is coming up on April 30-May 1. It's the largest book fair in the country. It's at USC, not UCLA, starting this year. So it's easier to get to.

Here's the list of authors speaking this year. You'll notice the same names that show up on talk shows pitching their new books. Likewise, the festival panels have always leaned more to non-fiction. There are some great novelists too, though.

To to OP, I guess no, there's no high readership-mass transit correlation. I think it's just another one of those things that would "seem so" without being so on real examination.
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Old 04-17-2011, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
1,309 posts, read 2,273,906 times
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I'm not doubting your sources, but I've NEVER seen NYC or LA mentioned as a well-read city overall...I just peeked at a bunch of lists online, which at least is a start...the ones I see most mentioned are Minneapolis, Seattle, Boston, DC, Denver. But I didn't check on the methodology of any of the lists-- you never know with these "Best of" city lists

My theory is well-read > well-educated > leans left politically > cares about the environment > lives in area with good mass transit/cycling....so I say yes, there's a correlation!

I know, there are some major generalizations there... Just my pet theory!
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Old 04-18-2011, 11:10 AM
 
7,848 posts, read 17,855,307 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seattlefanatic View Post
I would say that it doesn't. Example:
Seattle: Lacking great mass transit, most literate city in the U.S.
Atlanta: Very good mass transit, one of the bottom cities on the list
Which list are you referring to? The most recent listings I could find all ranked Atlanta solidly in the top 10.

Central Connecticut State University (CCSU): America's Most Literate Cities 2010
Seattle tops list of literate cities - USATODAY.com
Top 10 Most Literate U.S. Cities | LiveScience
America's 11 Most Literate Cities - US News and World Report

But I would agree that reading and mass transit have little to do with one another in the larger scheme of things.
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Old 04-18-2011, 11:23 AM
 
Location: NYC
457 posts, read 912,686 times
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I'm guessing the main factor is share of college education people. Transit usage would probably be a minor factor.
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Old 04-18-2011, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
26,934 posts, read 28,311,155 times
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I think there is no relationship. But I think that casual readers read more when they take transit. It is just an easy time of the day to reclaim for reading. Avid readers fit it in whenever, they don't need the extra push. This only works when the commute is long enough (I think 20 minutes is the tipping point).
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