The 20 Most Well-Read Cities for African-Americans

Where in the U.S. can you find the most well-read African Americans?  Look no further.

We reviewed our website’s traffic and ranked, on a per capita basis, the number of visitors from cities with more than 200,000 residents.

Community Book Center, New Orleans, LA
Community Book Center, New Orleans, LA

Durham, North Carolina, home of North Carolina Central and Duke Universities, tops the list.   The state of North Carolina shares the honor of having the most cities in the top 20 (three), with New York State.  New York State had the highest number of visitors, but North Carolina easily beat New York on a per capita basis.

This article was prompted by a similar article found on Time Inc’s website, The 20 ‘Most Well-Read Cities’ in America, According to

#1 – Durham, North Carolina

#2 – Manhattan, New York
#3 – Atlanta, Georgia
#4 – Washington, District Of Columbia
#5 – Miami, Florida (3rd on Amazon’s List)
#6 – Saint Louis, Missouri (11th on Amazon’s List)
#7 – Cleveland, Ohio
#8 – Baltimore, Maryland
#9 – New Orleans, Louisiana
#10 – Raleigh, North Carolina
#11 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
#12 – Memphis, Tennessee
#13 – Charlotte, North Carolina
#14 – Bronx, New York
#15 – Detroit, Michigan
#16 – Brooklyn, New York
#17 – Chicago, Illinois
#18 – Jacksonville, Florida
#19 – Houston, Texas
#20 – Dallas, Texas


New York City’s five boroughs were treated separately because of their large populations; Manhattan (1,619,090), The Bronx (1,408,473), Brooklyn (2,565,635).  If New York City was treated as a single city (combining Manhattan, Brooklyn, and The Bronx) New York City would be in the top 20 but Los Angeles, California and Columbus, Ohio would then be added to the list at #19 and #20 respectively.

The total number of cities captured in the sample was over 500 globally.  There were two non-American cities which made the top 20 (Ottawa, Ontario and  London, England), but  they were excluded because only American cities were considered for this list.

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Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.

  • Glad to see my hometown — Cleveland, OH on the list!

  • BM Ross

    Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan are all in the same city, New York City or New York, New York. They are borroughs with in NYC.

    • Of course you are correct BM I treated the five boroughs separately because of their large populations. I’ll update the article to clarify this — thanks.

  • Community BookCenter in New Orleans is a hub of cultural, political and social events for the Black community.

  • Later in the year we will broaden the number of websites feeding into this list. We will also factor in the number of book clubs in each city, the number of Independent Bookstores and more.

  • I found this list quite surprising! Miami, Florida ranks higher than Brooklyn?!! My friend said it’s because the folks in Brooklyn are writing the books. Could be!

    • Miami made Amazon’s list too. It is one of the country’s cultural hubs. I went to High school in Brooklyn, spent over a decade there raising my family and have a great affinity for the place. The relative placements raises some interesting questions. I’m looking forward to the result of the expanded survey later in the year.

  • Robert Gomez

    Yeah!!! this is my hometown too. I wish I could go there….last time I was there for Ealy Mary Artwork and that was awesome.

  • apowell

    As a resident of Durham, North Carolina, I am surprised but extremely proud…

  • The 2014 list was just posted

  • Pingback: The Top Cities for Readers of African American Literature()

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