Assessing Book-Loving States: Where Does New York Rank?

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

National Read a Book Day is Wednesday, Sept. 6, and NYCasinos.com looked at the states that love to read the most because, let’s face it, New Yorkers read a lot. There are great schools, great bookstores, one of the best public libraries in the world, and so many authors live in New York, just their friends would add up to a lot of readers.

To commemorate the day, we took a break from covering NY online casinos to look at the states that love to read the most and those that read the least.

And since New York loves a winner, we thought the research results would place New York top of the heap, A-number 1, and we could all pat ourselves on the back about how literate we all are.

Surprise! Zonk! New York finished near the bottom, tied for 43rd with . . . Nebraska. Now, I’ve got nothing against Nebraska – I like corn in all its forms – but I find it hard to fathom that as much per capita reading takes place in Nebraska as it does in New York. On any given day you can find more people reading in the main branch of the New York Public Library than till the soil in Nebraska.

Yet, here are the results.

States That Love Reading Books the Least

Rank, State Library Visits Rank Kindle Search Rank Average Pts.
50. Mississippi 50 50 50
49. Texas 48 42 45
48. Louisiana 43 46 44.5
47. North Dakota 49 34 41.5
46. New Jersey 42 40 41
45. Georgia 37 42 39.5
44. Florida 41 37 39
T-43. New York 31 45 38
T-43. Nebraska 33 43 38
41. Nevada 26 48 37
40. West Virginia 36 37 36.5
39. New Mexico 25 46 35.5
38. Pennsylvania 46 24 35
37. Alabama 39 28 33.5
36. Minnesota 44 19 31.5

 

Massive New York City Library System

The NYPL is just one of 23 library systems in the state of New York, and it’s by far the biggest with more than 200 local library branches throughout the New York City. The NYPL serves more than 16 million patrons a year and holds more than 56 million items. The rest of the state libraries serve around 19 million people and the state system handles more than 15 million inter-library loans each year. 15 million. Take that, Nebraska!

Although I am protesting New York’s low ranking, it was so bad because the state ranked 45th in Kindle search rankings. But New Yorkers don’t need to search Kindle as we have more than 1,000 free public libraries where we can pick up real books. As for why our library visits per capita finished a lowly 31st, it must be because a good portion of the state’s 19.5 million residents must never go to a library at all. Ever. If they only knew how they were killing the state’s ranking, and they will after they read this, they probably will make a quick trip to their local branch, even if it’s just to pick up a book they won’t read.

For the record, Kindle searching shouldn’t even be counted as online reading has National Read an eBook Day on Sept. 18. The research also did not look at books sold per state because National Buy a Book Day is Sept. 7, which seems like a missed sales opportunity as it should be before National Read a Book Day. Also, Read a Book Day doesn’t require you to love the book you’re reading. August 9 is National Book Lovers Day.

As for New York library trivia, the oldest library in the state is the New York Society Library, founded in 1754, and originally serving as the Library of Congress, but without the title. It also served as the city’s library until the NYPL was founded in 1895. According to Wikipedia it has been visited by luminaries from President George Washington to playwright Wendy Wasserstein, two names I bet you never expected to see in the same sentence. The library has moved many times over the centuries, but it still exists, now on Manhattan’s upper East Side.

In case you’re curious, Sept. 6 isn’t only National Read a Book Day. Among others, it’s also National Color-Blind Awareness Day, National Coffee Ice Cream Day, and Fight Procrastination Day. So, if you’re really ambitious on Sept. 6, read a book and don’t put it off for a minute and fulfill two Days at once.

Methodology

NYCasinos.com – your source for New York online casino bonuses - utilized combined data points to develop the ranking of the 50 U.S. States in terms of loving books. We utilized WordsRated.com to get the average annual library visits per capita in 2023 and Google Trends to get the searches for “Amazon Kindle” over the past 12 months (August 2022-August 2023) Once acquiring that information, we averaged the ranking of the states to get our results.

Author

Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist who’s worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.