Sunday, October 05, 2008

"Red Market" and "Blue Market" book stores and the power of book signing electoral predictions

Jarret, the fantastic store manager at the Borders bookstore in Franklin, Tennessee, invited me to come by this Saturday to do a book signing for What Does Sarah Palin Believe?
It's what I am calling a "soft" book signing--there was no advance publicity, just put a table near the front entrance, show a dozen books, and see what happens.

In 2 hours this afternoon, I sold nine What Does Sarah Palin Believe? books and four What Does Barack Obama Believe? books.

An incredible showing for a book signing event with no advance publicity.

I have a theory about bookstores and book signings that I am going to test soon.

Book stores, like states are either red or blue. Swing book stores are purple. Perhaps more accurately, all book stores are either "red markets,", "blue markets", or "purple markets".

Franklin is a "red market" book store. That means most of the people who live within the book store's trade zone are Republicans. Roughly speaking, you could probably draw a circle with a 20 mile radius and call that the store's trade zone.

I believe I can walk into any "red market" book store in the country and hold a book signing where I sell 5 to 15 books within a 2 hour period.

Results would still be good, but less so in a "purple market" book store-- where the residents of the trade zone are roughly 50-50 Republicans and Democrats.

But a "blue market" book store -- where the trade zone is populated by Democrats-- will be a total waste of time. I doubt I would sell a single book in a "blue market" book store in an entire day.

This distinction has me thinking about trying a "swing state" book store book signing tour.... I believe I can probably predict how a swing state will vote by just showing up at all the major book stores in each swing state, sitting down for 2 hours, and seeing how many books I sell. If I average more than 5 books per store in a given state for each 2 hour book signing... the "swing state" will go for McCain-Palin. If I average less than 5 books per store, the "swing state" will go for Obama-Biden.

More later as I put the details of this tour together.

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