Texas Ranks Among the Least Book-Loving States

Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Texas has some work to do to raise its reputation as a book-loving state.

With National Read A Book Day arriving Sept. 6, we decided to look at the states who love to read the most.

BetTexas.com to a break from Texas sports betting and utilized two combined data points to develop the ranking of the 50 states in terms of loving books. We used WordsRated.com to get the average annual library visits per capita in 2020 and Google Trends to get the searches for “Amazon Kindle” over the past 12 months (August 2022-August 2023). Once we had that information, we averaged out the ranking of the states to get our final list.

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 10 24 31.5

Second-Worst Isn’t Place to Be

Maybe it’s Texas’ size, but the Lone Star State ranks as the second-worst book-loving state in the country behind only Mississippi. There certainly are no legal Texas betting apps to take away people’s attention for reading.

Texas comes in ranked No. 48 in the library visits per capita and then 42nd in the Amazon Kindle search ranking. That bad balance gives it an overall ranking of 45, just ahead of Louisiana’s 44.5 for the wrong kind of runner-up status to Mississippi. For the library data on WordsRated.com, the most recent was from 2020 so the pandemic played a big part in numbers being down overall that year. While visits were way down that year, they had been down over the previous decade with the rise of book downloads on Amazon and other services.

Texas ranks No. 5 in the ranking for most overall library visits at 35,191,610, but with such a large population that drives the per capita number down to 1.21. Vermont leads the nation with 4.02 library visits per capita. While the pandemic affected the number of in-person visits to libraries, data shows online library visits were also down during that year. U.S. public libraries recorded 1.16 billion visits to their websites in 2020, but that was a 20% drop when compared to the 2019 numbers that reached 1.46 billion visits.

The Google Trends data shows the metro areas leading the way in searches don’t come from Texas’ biggest cities. The Tyler-Longview area ranks No. 1, followed by Austin, Sherman, Texas-Ada, Oklahoma and then Wichita Falls. The state’s biggest metro areas are down the list, with San Antonio at No. 11, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth at No. 12 and Houston at No. 14.

So get out there and find a new favorite book for National Read a Book Day. In Texas, you’ll be doing your part to help the state rank higher among book lovers next year.

Author

Douglas Pils has been a sports journalist for 30 years in Texas, Arkansas and New York having worked for the San Antonio Express-News, the Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News and Newsday. He most recently ran the Student Media Department at Texas A&M for eight years.

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