Amazon.com released a “Heat Map” showing purchases of political books by state. The map breaks down all purchases into “blue” or “red” book categories. According to the map nation wide 44% of purchases are “Blue” Books and 56% of purchases are “Red” Books. In Florida 65% purchased red books.
Minnesota and Maryland came in even with 50% blue and 50% red. Mississippi has the distinction of having the highest number of red book buyers at 73%. Only four states and the District of Columbia have a majority of blue book buyers. These blue book buyer states are: New York (54%), Massachusetts (58%), Rhode Island (52%) and Vermont (61%). The District of Columbia has the highest number of blue book buyers at 68%. California may be in the political tossup column with 51% buying red books.
Amazon.com website did this because, “[G]iven the high interest we’ve seen in political books during election years, we thought our customers would like to see what general book buying patterns emerge across the country, and how they change over time.”
According to their website here is how Amazon.com created the Heat Map:
Amazon customers, as we know, read widely and often buy books that don’t necessarily fit their own views. Books aren’t votes, and a map of book purchases can reflect curiosity as much as commitment, but we hope our 2012 Election Heat Map will provide one way to follow the changing political conversation across the country during this election season.
How do we calculate the red and blue percentages on our Heat Map?
Our 2012 Election Heat Map colors each state according to the percentage of red and blue book purchases, based on shipping address, that have been made on Amazon.com during the past 30 days. We take the top-selling political books on Amazon.com and categorize them as “red,” “blue,” or neutral. We classify books as red or blue if they have a political leaning made evident in book promotion material and/or customer classification, such as tags. We compute percentages, updated daily, for each state and the US by comparing the 250 best-selling blue books during the time period against the 250 best-selling red books during the same time period, including new book launches. If the same book title has multiple formats (paperback, Kindle books and Audible Audio), each format has a separate sales calculation. The list only includes paid, not free Kindle books. All orders during the period are given equal weighting in the calculation. States with higher percentages of red or blue purchases are colored more darkly, and states with an even 50-50 split are colored neutral.
What is the definition of a “red state” and a “blue state” in the US?
In recent years, thanks to the color-coded maps the networks use on election night, “red state” has come to represent a state favoring the Republican Party, while “blue state” represents one that favors the Democratic Party. We know that states are not all red or all blue, and readers aren’t either. And books are often too complex to fit into such neat categories. But given the high interest we’ve seen in political books during election years, we thought our customers would like to see what general book buying patterns emerge across the country, and how they change over time.
Will the Amazon Heat Map be factored in by pundits and Real Clear Politics? We shall see.