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Book Report

Americans may be TV watchers and computer users, but they still love their books. They now purchase 2.25 billion books a year. Yet a dramatic shift has occurred in where and how they buy them. The independent bookstore appears to be going the way of the local hardware store. Independents lost half their market share in little more than five years. People now are more likely to buy what they want to read from a superbookstore with 150,000 volumes, a mail-order specialty club, or even book sites on the Internet.

Here's a snapshot of what goes on between the covers of the $26 billion US publishing industry - and in local bookstores: the types of books you and your neighbors prefer to read; the cities with the most book-lovers; and the booming business of the big chain stores. The shape of the industry is changing, but books are more than holding their own in a multimedia world.

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Top US Markets

The Top 10 cities by dollar volume of book sales and number of retail bookstores.

No. of Sales Area establishments ($1,000)

1 Los Angeles-

Long Beach, Calif. 454 $383,902

2 New York 363 359,716

3 Chicago 366 271,867

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4 Boston 249 238,116

5 Washington 296 234,589

6 Philadelphia 268 161,735

7 San Francisco 167 138,875

8 Seattle-Bellevue-

Everett, Wash. 176 131,679

9 San Jose, Calif. 99 125,015

10 San Diego 175 115,419