Is Iowa Among The Top Book-Loving States?

Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

In a world that increasingly is riveted to cell phones and with folks getting so much of their information in small bites from social media, it is heartening that there is a "National Read A Book Day" on the calendar, and it’s coming up Sept. 6. With that in mind, IowaBets.com, your home to Iowa sports betting, decided to look at the states who love to read the most utilizing two combined data points in order to develop a ranking of the 50 states in terms of loving books. 

One data point was WordsRated.com to get the average annual library visits per capita in 2023, and the other came from Google Trends to get the searches for “Amazon Kindle” over the past 12 months (August 2022-August 2023). With that information, IowaBets.com averaged those metrics state-by-state to get the final rankings.

Iowans should be pleased to learn that their state ranked No. 10 overall. Iowa excelled in Library Visits, ranking No. 7 in that category. Iowa’s Kindle Search ranking was a better-than-average No. 19.

Those rankings, once combined and then averaged, gave Iowa a Final Ranking score of 13, which, as mentioned, placed it at No. 10 in the United States. That put Iowa just behind No. 9 Montana (12.5 average ranking score) and ahead of a three-way tie for No. 11, which was Idaho, Virginia and Connecticut (15  average ranking score). Vermont finished No. 1 impressively with the top rank in both categories of library visits and Kindle search.
 

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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Iowa Has Plenty Of Sports Literature Ties

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Iowa published a list of books with some connection to the University of Iowa to help folks get through the lockdown.

Featured prominently – and a good one for Iowans to put on their list for National Read A Book Day – is the sports fantasy “Shoeless Joe” by W.P. Kinsella. The book tells the story of an Iowa farmer who is driven to carve out a baseball field from his cornfield.  The homemade field draws the spirits of old-time baseball heroes including “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, the talented star of the Chicago White Sox, a team that became infamous as the “Black Sox” for throwing the 1919 World Series. Of course, many will recognize that “Shoeless Joe” translated to the movie screen as “Field of Dreams.” Kinsella, a Canadian who passed away at age 81 in 2016, earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1978. 

For those who like some sports in their literature, another Kinsella book that should appeal to Iowans is “The Iowa Baseball Confederacy”. Like Kinsella’s first book, this one blends mysticism with baseball. Set in the 1970s, this story tells the tale of  a trumpet player from Iowa who is determined to prove the existence of an Iowa minor league which had a team that played against the Chicago Cubs in 1908. The game itself is a surreal event as it winds through 2,000 innings. 

Intrigued about how it all ends? Get the book.

Keep tabs on IowaBets.com for more research items such as this, plus all news related to Iowa betting apps.

Author

Bill Ordine, senior journalist and columnist for IowaBets.com, was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.