Red, blue, and Palin books

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USA Today has an article about two Christian publishers rushing out biographies of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. One book, "Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned the Alaskan Political Establishment Upside Down" by Kaylene Johnson, is already out but will now be distributed by Tyndale House Publishers (also publishers of the "Left Behind" series) which has already printed up 250,000 copies.

At the same time, Grand Rapids-based Zondervan Publishing is gearing up for the Oct. 10 release of "Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader" by Joe Hilley. The headline of the USA Today piece reads "Christian Publishers Score Big with Palin Books."

It might be that publishers of politically "red" books are scoring big in general. According to a new barometer devised by amazon.com, books from America's political right get much wider exposure than those from its left.

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To help push political books from now through the election, Amazon has created "Amazon Election 2008 Store." Here, customers can see a map of the United States, highlighting red and blue states based on sales patterns of political books. It only takes a glance to see that, apart from the Northeast, the US is awash in "red" books.

Amazon has used its own discretion in deciding which books are red and which are blue, but there are no surprises on these lists. (Top of the blue list: "Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency" by Barton Gellman, "Audacity of Hope" by Barack Obama," "Change We Can Believe In" by Barack Obama; top of the red list: "Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned the Alaskan Political Establishment Upside Down" by Kaylene Johnson, "The Case Against Barack Obama" by David Freddoso, "Fleeced" by Dick Morris.)

They also recognize a "purple" category – books that neither quite one or quite the other. These include "Hot, Flat and Crowded" by Thomas L. Friedman, "The War Within" by Bob Woodward, and "The Forever War" by Dexter Filkin.

There's no question, however, what color dominates on the map. As one commentator said, "If you squint a little, you can see some blue." Maybe.

However, there's good news for Democrats as well. Sales of books written by Barack Obama handily beat John McCain's (76 percent to 24 percent at last reading), according to an Amazon meter updated hourly.

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