Still, there’s no getting around the fact that even reliably blue states like California come out in shades of red in the Amazon map. According to publishing-industry analyst Michael Norris, of Simba Information, that might be due to the right’s ability to connect with its readers. “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,” Norris told Wired. “There just aren’t aggressively left-leaning imprints like that.”
Even that may be giving this map too much credence. There’s absolutely nothing scientific about it. Even leaving aside the fact that people may be reading the books not because they agree with them but to know what the “other side” is thinking, the sheer fact that a book is either completely red or completely blue assigns the same weight to a book by a serious political thinker as one by a loony conspiracy theorist.
All you can really tell from this map is that the books Amazon categorizes as red seem to be selling better than the books Amazon categorizes as blue. But I expect that’s not going to stop anyone who wants to cite it as “evidence” for their favored political prognostication.