Friday, October 05, 2012

Amazon Heat Map

There are a lot of ways (many of them self-serving) of looking at this graphic. I think the most direct is with the following assumptions:

1. It is mostly conservatives buying conservative books and mostly liberals buying liberal books. People look for ammunition and reinforcment of what they already believe.

2. Even though about twice as many people describe themselves as conservative than as liberal, the fact of the matter is that Democrats and Republicans each get very close to 50% of the total vote.

3. Why then are conservative books selling so much better than liberal ones? I think it is in the very different distribution of each of the side's 50%: The conservative side ranges from working class people through wealthy people, with most in the middle. The liberal side has lots in the middle too, but they dominate the opposite ends of the spectrum. The underclasses are almost monolithically liberal and the same is true of elites, such as college professors.

4. The underclasses barely buy books at all, let alone ones that are hard to read and lack much entertainment value. So it isn't as if the country is swinging right, it is just that a big chunk of the left are not in the book-buying demographic.

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