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Amazon Election Heat Map 2012
August 22, 2012 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Amazon Election Heat Map 2012. Republican landslide in Amazon book vote.
posted by stbalbach (77 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
For a second, I thought Dinesh D'Souza wrote a book called The Robots of Obama's Rage.
posted by griphus at 8:36 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Because sensible people read high quality blogs rather than terribly written political tracts?
posted by jaduncan at 8:36 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's because moderates and liberals read real books, rather than book-shaped political firebombs.
posted by goethean at 8:37 AM on August 22, 2012 [23 favorites]


Conservative titles are bought by conservative think tanks and conferences in bulk and given away, that is why they are always best sellers. It is a pump and dump scam.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:37 AM on August 22, 2012 [68 favorites]


For a second, I thought Dinesh D'Souza wrote a book called The Robots of Obama's Rage.

Now I'm kind of sad that he didn't.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:38 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fifty Shades of Red.
posted by Kabanos at 8:38 AM on August 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream, Fool Me Twice: Obama's Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed and Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan favourite Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Just 44% are "blue" books, titles which include Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States and The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future.

Hint: what is this equivalence here because it is not in my head.

Quick, buy "Sarah Palin: My Ghostwriter Headbutted a Keyboard III"!
posted by jaduncan at 8:39 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Conservative titles are bought by conservative think tanks and conferences in bulk and given away, that is why they are always best sellers. It is a pump and dump scam.

Herman Cain was caught doing this last year.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:39 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cite
posted by Ad hominem at 8:39 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


This seems like apples and oranges, 'conservative' books are a distinct genre with no real liberal equivalent aside from perhaps Michael Moore's books and a few others. The liberal books mentioned are not liberal except in anything like the same sense that the conservative books mentioned are conservative.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:40 AM on August 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yeah, the only thing this tells us is that Pennsylvania is going to go for Obama in a Big Way. A swing state where the voters are actually buying "Liberal" books with their own money in proportion to the right-wing think-tank book carpet bombing? Not good for the Goopers.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:45 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fifty Shades of Red.

Ah, the famous book about the manly Stalin and his political prisoner lover. Her inner goddess would have been as active as one would expect, but sadly she'd been born into an athiest society.

After successfully posing as a man to escape, she was deported to the Russian East, eventually surviving to write The Gulag Archipelago.
posted by jaduncan at 8:45 AM on August 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


My state is slightly red, surprisingly.

One reason, I can think of, is that I, and I suspect others of my ilk, eschew Amazon.com in favor of brick and mortar stores, and sites like Powells.com.
posted by Danf at 8:45 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States

So a "liberal book" is one with information in it?
posted by cmoj at 8:45 AM on August 22, 2012 [33 favorites]


conservative' books are a distinct genre with no real liberal equivalent aside from perhaps Michael Moore's books and a few others

It is, because conservative books are part of a scam.

I don't think there is a market for any of these book. It is resume burnishing.And payment for being a public conservative. This is the gravy train. If we had an equivalent scam going on I'm sure we would have all kinds of books about how terrible Romney is.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:46 AM on August 22, 2012


I have a feeling if you did an election year heat map of conservative/liberal radio play you'd always get red as well. Like books, there just isn't much of an equivalent political talk radio push on the left so it always skews right.
posted by mathowie at 8:48 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Conservative titles are bought by conservative think tanks and conferences in bulk and given away, that is why they are always best sellers. It is a pump and dump scam.

Through Amazon rather than directly from the publisher? That's a lot of fees to give up, surely.

I guess it's not that hard to outcompete normal political books (given the otherwise low sales figures) though.
posted by jaduncan at 8:49 AM on August 22, 2012


Interesting that Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion shows up as a political book. And that books authored by actual Democratic and Republican Presidents don't show up until number 38 and 40 on the list, respectively.

I'm also somewhat surprised that the list doesn't treat different editions/versions of a title as being the same book.
posted by compartment at 8:49 AM on August 22, 2012


Of course conservative books outnumber liberal books. To write a liberal book you need things like facts and research, and that takes time.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:50 AM on August 22, 2012 [17 favorites]


Well, a lot of those books get bought (whether by actual human beings or campaigns). But they don't get read because conservatives already know everything they need to know.

(when I was a conservative, I received a copy of Limbaugh's "the way things ought to be". I tried to read it, but at some point all the sneering got *boring*.)
posted by notsnot at 8:52 AM on August 22, 2012


Ooh, ooh... now do the 'Weed Growers of America Political Heat Map'.
posted by Splunge at 8:53 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that one's unconstitutional.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:57 AM on August 22, 2012


I read a couple of Limbaugh books for a political science class in college. I had a very liberal professor and I think he assigned them ironically. I wrote a paper saying Limbaugh was correct that giving kids condoms is the same as telling them to have sex the same way giving cops bullet proof vests is the same as telling criminals to shoot them. Got an a.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:58 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's not a heat map.
posted by sgillies at 9:01 AM on August 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is Howard Zinn's People's History of America REALLY that good? I mean, I took the same US history class in public high school as every other American, and also read Ken Davis's Don't Know Much About History for an exam, and actually learned something and realized I, well, don't know much about history. So, is Zinn's book helpful, or is it just for people who don't know much about history and want to be contrarian?
posted by FJT at 9:01 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know, my local library (in a blue Congressional district) buys these books and I doubt that they would if nobody checked them out.
posted by goethean at 9:02 AM on August 22, 2012


Ooh, ooh... now do the 'Weed Growers of America Political Heat Map'.

The other "tea" party...
posted by chavenet at 9:02 AM on August 22, 2012


I've got no problem with conservatives who read conservative books. I'll happily take anyone who actually reads books as part of our electorate. It's the non-reading people that scare me.
posted by Nelson at 9:09 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


FJT, I actually think you'll get more out of Zinn's book if you do have a solid layman's understanding of American history. It's not contrarian so much as it is filling in the gaps.
posted by hattifattener at 9:09 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


This makes me want to go out and buy a "Blue" book to show those "Red" book readers that we...

Oh, Amazon, I see what you're doing there!
posted by Muddler at 9:10 AM on August 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


So, is Zinn's book helpful, or is it just for people who don't know much about history and want to be contrarian?

It's a history of the U.S. from the perspective of those who don't usually show up in the textbooks assigned in classes (i.e., not the usual parade of founding fathers, presidents, war heroes, and wealthy capitalists).
posted by aught at 9:12 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is an easy explanation -
the red books make no sense, so people have to keep reading more red books in order to piece together some coherent thoughts.

the blue book ring of truth, and readers are satisfied and done after reading them.
posted by Flood at 9:13 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Weird. I could've sworn that biology textbooks sold better than this...
posted by schmod at 9:14 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember reading Zinn in high school, and passing the book on to friends so that they could learn the truth about our country. I still chuckle when I remember the incident when one of my friends brought the book home, and his mother saw it, and said "Oh great, another book by a Red Jew!"

Apparently, even though the author is "red", the book counts as "blue"
posted by crazy_yeti at 9:15 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Conservative titles are bought by conservative think tanks and conferences in bulk and given away, that is why they are always best sellers. It is a pump and dump scam.

Invites comparisons to Dianetics.
posted by gimonca at 9:17 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


FJT, I actually think you'll get more out of Zinn's book if you do have a solid layman's understanding of American history.

Okay, I will give it a chance. It's just that seeing Zinn's book as Liberal book #1 and encountering someone that I knew in real life read it as an attempt to sound intellectual just made me think Zinn's book was just some one-sided screed for precocious minds that wanted something to shock their peers with.
posted by FJT at 9:18 AM on August 22, 2012


The Roots of Obama's Rage is listed twice. I think I'll buy the cheaper one.

Um....no, prbly not.
posted by mule98J at 9:18 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've read about the fact that conservative think tanks buy books in bulk by certain authors to inflate their sales numbers, but I wouldn't imagine that this would be done for e-books. I frequently check the Amazon Kindle best-seller ratings for the nonfiction and political genres, and it's been very distressing to see that extremist conservative titles are consistently at the top of the lists.
posted by The Sprout Queen at 9:23 AM on August 22, 2012


I monitor the NYT Best Seller list and conservative books have dominated the top spots in hard cover non-fiction consistently for years on end. I would like to believe there is more to it than a conspiracy of mass book buying on Amazon.com (usually mass book buying isn't done through Amazon). I'm fairly sure there really are a lot of individuals out there buying and reading these books. I think it's because the conservatives make up 40% of so of the USA but there are only a small handful of books targeted to that audience so it's not difficult to get a best seller. "Liberal" books are defined as any book a conservative would not buy, which is most of the book buying universe since any book associated with academia or anything mainstream by definition is "liberal". So it's sort of like the liberal readers are diluted in a wide sea of books while the conservatives are concentrated in a small weedy pond.
posted by stbalbach at 9:23 AM on August 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


Zinn's book is a liberal book. I say this as a card carrying socialist. I agree with him politically and I understand what he was trying to do, but that does not make it objective. It is propaganda, not history. My historian friends do not view his work as objective history or even as a good example of history. His work is definitely in the category of "political tract." That being said, I do not view his work in the same light that I do the far-right blowhards like O'Reilly and Limbaugh, but we have to be honest about our biases.
posted by anansi at 9:24 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have never heard of Dinesh D'Souza before, but apparently he wrote this in one of his latest books:

The cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11 ... the cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the non-profit sector and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world.
from The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11


Um, what?
posted by Big_B at 9:26 AM on August 22, 2012


Invites comparisons to Dianetics.


Much like COS and Dianetics, there is only one real player in conservative publishing Regenery Publishing. Publishers of the aforementioned The Roots of Obama's Rage. Regenery is owned by Eagle Publishing, which also owns RedState and Human Events. Eagle Publishing was a subsidiary of Phillips Publishing International, Inc until 1999. Philips is well know for publishing oil and gas industry propaganda as well a quasi-legal "investor newsletters" of the type that contain mainly conflicted stock information as part of pump and dump schemes. The entire investor newsletter industry fell on hard times when the SEC got involved and started actively monitoring these newsletters. The upshot is that stock pickers were promoting stocks in which they held a position via these newsletters in order to drive up prices and increase the value of their holdings.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:39 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


So
much
wasted
money

between campaign donations and pump and dump and all the such It strikes home just how unequally the recession has hit people. Billions of dollars going to a millionaire. 50% tax on campaign donations and political advertisement once a campaign reaches a certain level. The funds of which go towards "the deficit", or something even more worthwhile.
posted by edgeways at 9:50 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have the next best seller for Conservative books!

Atlas Shrugged on the Road to Serfdom in Obama's America: The Communist Mentor Reveals the Roots of Obama's Shocking Plans to use Big Government and his Advisors to Kill Wealth, Capitalism, Freedom, the American Dream, and Lincoln.

Now all I need is someone willing to put together a provocative book cover and some out of work writers to slap a book together...and $$$!
posted by FJT at 9:59 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is Howard Zinn's People's History of America REALLY that good? I mean, I took the same US history class in public high school as every other American, and also read Ken Davis's Don't Know Much About History for an exam, and actually learned something and realized I, well, don't know much about history. So, is Zinn's book helpful, or is it just for people who don't know much about history and want to be contrarian?
posted by FJT


Here's the most useful thing I got from Zinn: his critique of FDR and the New Deal is basically that it was a cynical stopgap measure to give the poor just enough scraps that they wouldn't organize and march on Washington. I'd never really thought of it that way, and I think that frankly a lot of modern conservatives would do well to spend some time seriously considering the idea that there have been times when social programs were (maybe) all that kept us from some full-on French Revolution/Bane in Gotham shit.
posted by COBRA! at 10:01 AM on August 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream, Fool Me Twice: Obama's Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed and Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan favourite Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

For a moment, I thought this was the title for a single book. I really do expect the hacks who write these to start doing double subtitles so I only became confused at "and".
posted by spaltavian at 10:01 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I work in a bookstore on the edge of Paul Ryan's district. There are far more conservative books selling right now than liberal ones, but, the adage a former boss of mine used to always say, "the party out of power sells the most books."

The craziest thing is there are two directly contradicting ideas presented in these books. The first idea (as in the Amateur) is that Obama is a shitty president who doesn't know how to get anything done. The second is that Obama is implementing a sinister "socialist agenda."
posted by drezdn at 10:04 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, yes. He's also a secret Muslim who is extra-dangerous because he's so devoted to a radical Christian pastor.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:06 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


56% of the books are red, 44% are blue. This isn't really that interesting.

And if I had to guess, the sort of people who buy "blue" books are more likely to buy them from their Friendly Neighborhood Bookstore, so the imbalance is probably even smaller than it looks. I mostly say this because I live in a very blue city with lots of Friendly Neighborhood Bookstores.
posted by madcaptenor at 10:12 AM on August 22, 2012


Much like COS and Dianetics, there is only one real player in conservative publishing Regenery Publishing.

Threshold Editions (courtesy of Schuster) is also coming on pretty strong.
posted by mintcake! at 10:30 AM on August 22, 2012


Indeed, they published Herman Cain's book that he bought himself with his own campaign funds didn't they ?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:44 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


My father-in-law recently sent us a copy of The Amateur. I was appalled not so much at what a gossipy hit piece it was (a picture of Al Capone to illustrate how Obama is a product of corrupt Chicago politics? Really?) but at the fact that my otherwise educated and intelligent FIL would take it seriously and think we should read it. He bought the "amateur" description hook line and sinker, and after voting for Obama in 2008 is planning to vote for Romney this time because Obama just doesn't have the "experience" that Romney does. *sigh*
posted by fogovonslack at 11:03 AM on August 22, 2012


I mostly say this because I live in a very blue city with lots of Friendly Neighborhood Bookstores.

That's a good point madcaptenor. The blue areas of the country tend to be in more concentrated population centers where you're more likely to have convenient access to local bookstores. The rural areas are more red, where amazon is probably much more convenient.
posted by mach at 11:08 AM on August 22, 2012


I also submit that many people who would purchase "blue" books borrow them from the library, rather than purchasing them.
posted by China Grover at 11:11 AM on August 22, 2012


Speaking as a former library employee, so do the readers of "red" books.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:16 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has anybody read Killing Lincoln? Is it really a conservative book? I mean, I don't doubt for a minute that O'Reilly is capable of putting a rightward spin on just about everything -- but what's the conservative slant on the Lincoln assassination? Is it pro-Booth, or what?
posted by steambadger at 11:20 AM on August 22, 2012


Here's evidence from Washington Monthly about how Romney used institutional buyers to artificially pump his sales figures. Politico covers how Palin artificially inflated her sales figures here. Here's another piece on how the Obama Nation author pumped his sales numbers. Also, inflating sales for conservative books through various complex bulk buying and promotional scams is a tactic that David Brock (a former conservative media operative who recanted) describes as very common among right wing organizations and think tanks in his expose book, "Blinded by the Right."
posted by saulgoodman at 11:46 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Their whole angle, remember, is to claim to speak for some "Silent Majority" that's really out there in the US being ignored by the mainstream media and liberal elites alike. They don't really need a lot of people on their side, from a purely political POV--just the impression there are a lot of people on their side.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:49 AM on August 22, 2012


Has anybody read Killing Lincoln? Is it really a conservative book?

I dunno - I had some trouble with some of the larger words. Maybe I'll try again with the kids' version.
posted by mintcake! at 12:12 PM on August 22, 2012


Conservative titles are bought by conservative think tanks and conferences in bulk and given away, that is why they are always best sellers. It is a pump and dump scam.

This is true but shouldn't affect these rankings. Bulk orders aren't done through Amazon, they're done directly through the publisher.
posted by downing street memo at 12:41 PM on August 22, 2012


Conservatives need to make up for the Colbert Truism that "reality has a liberal bias". So they buy books that support them out of insecurity - much more than liberals, progressives or leftists who don't need to read multiple 300-page rehashes of talking points. Then they get to make the specious argument that they know more than their political opponents because they've "read more" (even though many of their books may never have had their spines cracked). It's like people whose book reading mostly consists of popular SciFi authors trying to "explain REAL science" to you... just more lucrative for authors and publishers. (Note to Scalzi, Stross and Doctorow: you are really not maximizing your sales potential by not appealing to the Right-Wing-Wacko market)

I'd also like to see some text-matching in comment threads to see how much of conservative troll rants are cut-and-paste from some of these propaganda books.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:39 PM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes; my immediate thought was, "Maybe liberals are more secure in their views and don't need to buy books to convince themselves." Also, "Maybe liberals skew younger and more Internet-connected, so if they feel like confirming their views, they can do it for free online."

Pinko commies, liking free stuff and "sharing" everything...
posted by limeonaire at 3:59 PM on August 22, 2012


i've noticed that barnes and noble carries quite a lot of conservative books, more than liberal ones

they wouldn't carry them and prominently display them if people weren't buying them
posted by pyramid termite at 5:17 PM on August 22, 2012


I'm a liberal. I own hundreds of books. Maybe two of them could be classified as liberal.

My in-laws are conservatives. They own three books. One is by Glenn Beck, one is by Anne Coulter and the third is The Bible.
posted by turaho at 6:07 PM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


As a single data point, this means nothing to me. But apparently Amazon did the same thing in 2008. It only takes a glance to see that, apart from the Northeast, the US is awash in "red" books. (September 17, 2008) I'm not seeing the 2008 map on Amazon, but this looks like a copy. If that's accurate, more states are red this year, but a lot of states that were red in the 2008 map voted blue.
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:30 PM on August 22, 2012


Maybe two of them could be classified as liberal.

Really? Only? Nearly all my books--from my union-loving Mark Twain collection to my dog-eared copy of Origin of the Species--seem to be viewed as irredeemably leftist in the contemporary formulations of conservatism. My sense for how it works now is that if it's not a consciously partisan, politically conservative book, that alone qualifies it as liberal. I mean, accurate science textbooks are viewed by many conservatives as too liberal. They've basically dropped most of the New Testament at this point, too, as too pinko.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:01 PM on August 22, 2012


I buy alot of books, and I'm a liberal. The only overtly political book I bought this year was "The Little Blue Book" by George Lakoff. As saulgoodman points out, there were a bunch of books that I bought for left-leaning reasons, or appeal to my political sensibilities. For example, I stocked up on Scalzi when he offered to donate a portion of that week's ebook purchases to planned parenthood.
posted by drezdn at 7:23 PM on August 22, 2012


I just don't get it. Outside of political screeds, what is a blue book or a red book? Are my copies of Thomas Merton's books "red" because Catholics in America currently align with the right-wing? What about my copy of Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol? Surely that's a blue book, since it espouses the long history of the demon Rum. Postwar is probably blue, since it talks about Europe. Peace is red, because Gene Wolfe is Christian. The Coroner's Lunch has brown people as major characters, so it's probably blue. What about Fundamentals of Database Systems?...

guys?

hello?
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:39 PM on August 22, 2012


This is true but shouldn't affect these rankings. Bulk orders aren't done through Amazon, they're done directly through the publisher.

Point taken, that bulk buying may not affect these particular rankings. I don't think people would go through the trouble of trying to rig the NYT and just leave the Amazon rankings to chance.

I also acknowlege that some people do buy the books. Hell like I said upthread I bought (and read!) several Limbaugh books.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:34 PM on August 22, 2012


The cartonerd in me is still stuck on some dolt's calling that a heat map. There's a word. It's CHLOROPLETH. LEARN it.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:20 PM on August 22, 2012


I just threw up in my mouth.
posted by mike3k at 10:27 PM on August 22, 2012


"The first idea (as in the Amateur) is that Obama is a shitty president who doesn't know how to get anything done. The second is that Obama is implementing a sinister "socialist agenda.""

To be fair, the "sinister moron" paradox also afflicted the Bush administration.
posted by klangklangston at 11:07 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe buyers of blue books are too busy working three jobs to pay for mom's kidney transplant and pay off her underwater house?
posted by dhartung at 11:57 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Conservative titles are bought by conservative think tanks and conferences in bulk and given away, that is why they are always best sellers.

These are the people who invented "the culture wars," so it shouldn't surprise that they regard buying and selling books as a kind of gorilla warfare (that is, the selling of books written by gorillas to chimps who are playing at war).

I endorse Roy Edroso's response to Beverly Gage's idiotic question Why is there no liberal Ayn Rand? American conservatives have a canon. Why don’t American liberals?" Edroso:
"Sure we have a canon -- it's called Western literature. And it beats the snot out of the sad, long-form political pamphlets wingnuts like to name-check. You will learn more about the human condition from the works of novelists, playwrights, and poets than you ever can from a thousand power freaks' blueprints for the mass production of Procrustean beds."
In other news, I'd recommend Foner over Zinn.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:03 AM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


To be fair, the "sinister moron" paradox also afflicted the Bush administration.

Well, it was a little more plausible there, given the sinister presence lurking in a secure undisclosed location near the White House...
posted by steambadger at 7:36 AM on August 23, 2012


Speaking of heat maps:

How many fucks are given in the USA? (possibly NSFW) (no nudity, but the word fuck in print)
posted by Splunge at 12:34 PM on August 23, 2012


Why Does Dinesh D'Souza Hate America?
posted by homunculus at 1:36 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


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