That Vermont is among the most liberal places in the United States is not exactly a revelation. But a fun little project from Amazon.com reveals a new slice of political leanings in the Green Mountains.
With the helpful disclaimer "Just remember, books aren't votes," the Internet's leading purveyor of books and other stuff created its own red state-blue state map, based on the books its customers bought in the past 30 days (e.g. Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope is a "blue" book, while Mitt Romney's memoir Turnaround is a "red" book). Crunching the numbers, Amazon found that 58 percent of book purchases in Vermont come down on the liberal side. That's the highest percentage of any state in America, although Washington DC beats Vermont — a whopping 67 percent of the books purchased there are considered "blue."
Vermont is in pretty rare company as a "blue" state on this map. Just four states plus the District of Columbia purchase more liberal books than conservative ones on Amazon, while 45 states prefer right-leaning books. (California comes down smack in the middle with a 50-50 split.) Overall, 57 percent of political books sold on Amazon are considered conservative.
Another fun stat: the most conservative state, Mississippi, is more "red" than Vermont or D.C. are "blue" — there, 73 percent of the books sold lean right. Bet Bill McKibben won't pay a visit there on his next book tour.
After the jump, find out what Amazon says are Vermont's top-selling "blue" and "red" books.
The three best-selling blue books in Vermont:
Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (Issues of Our Time) by Kwame Anthony Appiah. From the Amazon description: "Raised in Ghana, educated in England, and now a distinguished professor in the United States, Appiah promises to create a new era in which warring factions will finally put aside their supposed ideological differences and will recognize that the fundamental values held by all human beings will usher in a new era of global understanding."
Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools by Jonathan Kozol. Amazon: "National Book Award-winning author Jonathan Kozol presents his shocking account of the American educational system in this stunning New York Times bestseller, which has sold more than 250,000 hardcover copies."
The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz. Amazon: "Stiglitz draws on his deep understanding of economics to show that growing inequality is not inevitable: moneyed interests compound their wealth by stifling true, dynamic capitalism. They have made America the most unequal advanced industrial country while crippling growth, trampling on the rule of law, and undermining democracy."
Amazon's top selling red books in Vermont:
Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind by Mallory Factor with Elizabeth Factor. Amazon: "This compelling and insightful book exposes how unions have organized federal, state, and local government employees without their consent, and how government employee unions are now a threat to our workers' freedoms, our free and fair elections, and even our American way of life."
The Amateur by Edward Klein. Amazon: "Tapping into the public’s growing sentiment that President Obama is in over his head, The Amateur argues that Obama’s toxic combination of incompetence and arrogance have run our nation and his presidency off the rails." Interestingly, this is the Kindle edition of the book that's a top-seller, although the dead-tree edition is on the list too, at number 5.
First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity by John B. Taylor. Amazon: "Leading economist John B. Taylor’s straightforward plan to rebuild America’s economic future by returning to its founding principles."