election 2012
11:41 am
Tue August 21, 2012

More 'red' books (conservative) bought than 'blue,' Amazon reports

Based on book sales, Republicans are dominating Democrats in most of the country (including Washington state), according to a new “election heat map” created by book retailer Amazon.com.

Amazon’s map allows you to see state-by-state whether people are buying more “red” books  or “blue” books. Red books are ones that the Amazon Books Editorial team judged to have a partisan slant to the right. Blue books slant to the left.

What’s interesting is that even in traditionally blue states like Washington, where there hasn’t been a Republican governor in 27 years, red books are outselling blue books.

Political scientist Todd Donovan of Western Washington University, says the map isn't a good reflection of how people will really vote. But he says it's interesting as a window into how strong the market is for conservative books, and that's fueled, he says, by the popularity of right-wing media personalities like Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck.

He says there's a lot fewer people with that kind of star power espousing liberal viewpoints. The map captures how much anti-Obama fervor there is right now, he said.

"There's a really big anti-Obama industry out there that sells a lot of books, Donovan said. "It's actually surprising to me how many there were until I started scrolling down the list."

Screen grab from the Amazon page showing top five

Amazon's senior editor of books, Chris Schluep, says his team put a lot of time into categorizing the books, although they didn't manage to read all of them.

"We've read a lot of these books – at least one of us," Schluep said. "Then we also went and looked through customer comments and at times we even contacted the publishers to talk to them about where the book should fall – red, blue or purple."

The top-selling red book in Washington state is Edward Klein’s The Amateur, a book about Obama’s presidency. The book description on Amazon says it shows how “Obama’s toxic combination of incompetence and arrogance have run our nation and his presidency off the rails.”

The top-selling blue book is Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by journalist Chris Hedges and cartoonist Joe Sacco, which shows the effects of corporate greed throughout U.S. history.

The only blue states according to Amazon’s map are Vermont, New  York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maryland, along with Washington, D.C.

Screen grab showing Amazon's top five