Who's Reading What Where?


In case you thought that globalization/the Internet/media conglomerates/The Man had finally succeeded in homogenizing people's tastes and consumption habits, think again.

Among Amazon's many curated features is a fascinating Best of the Month list, where they've just started offering regional breakdowns. Here's some trend analysis from Amazon's bloggers at Omnivoracious:

in the early March returns a few interesting things pop out: Stephenie Meyer is much more popular in the West and the South. Jodi Picoult and Valerie Bertinelli are popular in the East; Jonah Goldberg is not. Richard Price and Tori Spelling are doing well on the coasts; James Patterson's latest Maximum Ride and Mary Kay Andrews's new cooking mystery are big in the South. And African American bishop E. Bernard Jordan's The Laws of Thinking, not in the top 10 in any other region, is #2 in the South.

That's only based on a limited data set so far, though, since March just started, so I went back and filled in the data for February too, which you can see on our FairTax: The Truth, by radio host Neal Boortz, is a regional blockbuster: #2 among all books in the South but not in the top 10 for any other region. Among February releases it does make the top 10s in the Midwest and the West (barely), but in the East it wasn't even close: #122! On the other hand, Greg Mortenson's paperback hit about building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Three Cups of Tea, and Susan Jacoby's modern jeremiad, The Age of American Unreason, both did much better in the West than anywhere else. Baseball fans (or at least Baseball Prospectus statheads) appear to be grouped, as you might expect, in the East and Midwest, and, even less surprisingly, the only part of the country where the Sports Illustrated New York Giants Super Bowl Commemorative Edition made the top 10 was, yes, the East (it didn't even make the top 500 in the West or the Midwest).

To see the whole current list, go to their Best of the Month and scroll down toward the bottom of the page to "Most of the Month."