As Amazon aptly reminds us, books aren't votes. But it's still pretty interesting to see what political books are most popular around the country. The results? Americans are buying more “red” books than “blue” books by about 58 to 42 percent (one point redder than when the screenshot of the map was taken). And while there's not much that can be read into these numbers, they do reveal some thought-provoking trends.
Amazon's 2012 Election Heat Map colors each state based on the share of red and blue book purchases made on Amazon.com over the past 30 days, after classifying the top-selling political books as “red,” “blue,” or neutral. Popular red books include such titles as Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream, The Roots of Obama's Rage and Fool Me Twice: Obama's Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed. Blue titles include The Passage of Power (the latest LBJ biography from Robert Caro), A People's History of the United States and The New New Deal.
While some of the books (like the ones about particular politicians) are unequivocally political, some (like the historical ones) are a bit less clearly “red” or “blue.” So placing your election bets based on this study is probably unwise. What's more interesting is the split between the “red” books being primarily anti-Obama screeds and conspiracy theories, while the “blue” books are primarily historical and sociological works about topics like Democratic presidents and inequality.
Unsurprisingly, Texans order a greater share of red books than the national average – 68 percent red to 32 percent blue. The most popular red book in Texas is The Amateur, while the most popular blue book is The Price of Inequality, in keeping with the national trend of right wing tirade for red vs. sociological study for blue.
And though the nation generally looks red in its readership, readers are buying Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope over Mitt Romney's No Apology: The Case for American Greatness at a rate of 59 to 41. But poor Joe – readers are choosing Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor's book over Biden's book 95 to 5.
The map is updated hourly, so it's worth checking back to see how the proportions change when new bestsellers are introduced in the mix. In the meantime, take comfort in knowing that these results are in no way predictive.