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Conservative books are leaping off the shelves, says Amazon. Liberal titles, not so much.

According to a new heat map by Amazon, readers in 44 states prefer conservative 'red' books to liberal 'blue.'

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Does the crimson map reflect how Americans will vote this November? Not necessarily. Instead, say industry watchers, it indicates the relative superiority of conservative imprints in seeking out right-leaning books and connecting with readers.

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“I can tell you that there are conservative imprints and conservative publishers that are just brilliant at figuring out what kind of books their audience wants to read,” publishing industry analyst Michael Norris, of Simba Information, told Wired. “There just aren’t aggressively left-leaning imprints like that.”

In fact, Amazon’s heat map told a similar story four years ago, when conservative books like “Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned the Alaskan Political Establishment Upside Down” were top of the list and the map was similarly awash in red.

Wrote Books Editor Marjorie Kehe last election season, “It might be that publishers of politically 'red' books are scoring big in general. According to a new barometer devised by, books from America’s political right get much wider exposure than those from its left.”

Among Amazon’s findings:

• DC was the “bluest” state, selling the most liberal books at 78 percent liberal, 22 percent conservative.

Mississippi was the “reddest” state, with 72 percent of purchases coming out “red” and 28 percent “blue.”

• In a head-to-head race, however, Obama still comes out on top. Some 64 percent of Americans are buying “The Audacity of Hope,” compared to 36 percent purchasing GOP contender Mitt Romney’s “No Apology.”

• In the veep race, though, Republican Paul Ryan is trouncing Joe Biden. Some 94 percent of Americans are purchasing Ryan’s co-authored “Young Guns,” compared to just 6 percent buying Biden’s “Promises to Keep.”

We’re enjoying this glimpse into Americans’ political reading habits, but we’re not reading too much into it. After all, four years when Amazon’s heat map was cloaked in red, a decidedly blue candidate won the majority of Americans’ votes.

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.


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