Is Massachusetts a Book-Loving State?

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

National Read a Book Day is Sept. 6, which means you better read really fast or it will need to be a short book. National Read a Book Week seems like a better idea. But since, for now, we have only one day, BetMassachusetts.com took a break from covering Massachusetts sports betting to look at the states that love to read the most.

We utilized two 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 final results.

States That Love Reading Books Most

Rank, State Library Visits Rank Kindle Search Rank Average Pts.
1. Vermont 1 1 1
T2. Wyoming 5 6 5.5
T2. Massachusetts 4 7 5.5
4. Alaska 9 4 6.5
5. Oregon 12 5 8.5
6. Utah 18 3 10.5
7. Maine 14 8 11
8. Missouri 11 13 12
9. Montana 13 12 12.5
10. Iowa 7 19 13
T11. Idaho 20 10 15
T11. Virginia 17 13 15
T11. Connecticut 2 28 15
14. New Hampshire 21 11 16
15. Michigan 10 24 17

 

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Massachusetts Ranks Near Top

In addition to providing the best Massachusetts sports betting promos and covering the pro teams in the state, BetMassachusetts.com also does stories of cultural interest such as this.

In our survey, Massachusetts came in tied for second with Wyoming. Wyoming? Vermont at No. 1 we can understand, that’s where people from No. 2 Massachusetts go when they have time to read. But Wyoming? Massachusetts would like a recount.

Massachusetts came in fourth in library visits per capita but was brought down by a Kindle ranking of seventh. Kindle reading shouldn’t have counted at all as National Read an eBook Day is Sept. 18. The survey did not look at books sold per state because National Buy a Book Day is Sept. 7, which seems like a missed opportunity as it should be the day before the reading day.

Massachusetts does well, in part, because a lot of reading is done at Harvard, MIT, Wellesley, Amherst, etc., plus all the prep schools in the state – although it’s unclear how much they love it. This brings me back to: Wyoming?

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Massachusetts Filled with Libraries

There are about 1,600 libraries in Massachusetts – there are barely 1,600 people in Wyoming. And there are only 100 or so libraries in the Cowboy State, with the largest being at the University of Wyoming – over 1.4 million books. Massachusetts’ largest public home of free books is the Boston Public with nearly 24 million items. It’s dwarfed, however, by Harvard’s library, which has more than 167 million items, and more than 39 million books. Established in 1638, it’s the oldest library in the U.S.

Massachusetts is also home to the oldest public lending library in continuous existence in the U.S. The Franklin Public Library was founded in 1790, with books donated by Benjamin Franklin. The library, in Franklin, Mass., around 40 miles southwest of Boston, opened with 116 of Ben’s books, and the town argued over who should be allowed to borrow them, before deciding that everyone in town should be allowed to borrow them. Considering how few people there were in the town and how few of them were literate, the wait for books probably wasn’t long. A forerunner to today’s book climate, the town didn’t want the books at all. It was looking for Franklin to donate a church bell. Fortunately, the townspeople didn’t turn the books into winter kindling and the original collection is still at the library.

Libraries across Massachusetts celebrate National Read a Book Day – it’s like Library Christmas – but in fairness, every day the library is open should be National Read a Book Day.

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Author

Howard Gensler
Journalist / Reporter

Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist covering the Massachusetts sports betting market for BetMassachusetts.com. Before his focus on U.S. sports betting, Howard worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Howard is also a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.

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