Although it's barely into its second week of sales, more than two million copies of Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown's long awaited thriller The Lost Symbol have flown off the shelves. Not surprising, considering the Da Vinci Code sold an absurd 81 million copies (compared with 17 million for the entire Twilight series).
What is surprising is just how many of those copies were electronic: Roughly 100,000 e-copies of The Lost Symbol sold last week, which is about five percent of the book's total global sales, and close to nine percent of its US sales. Amazon won't release its total e-book sales figures, but Brown's book is locked in at No. 1 on the Bestseller list.
One thing is for sure: If you analyze Amazon's best selling e-books side by side with the New York Times best sellers list, the dead tree readers seem a bit smarter and a lot more liberal than the e-readers.
Observe: No's 4 and 5 on the Amazon e-list are Glenn Beck's Arguing with Idiots and Common Sense, respectively, followed by Michelle Malkin's Culture of Corruption, an out-and-out attack of the Obama administration. Of course, Kindle doesn't have a monopoly on the conservative treatise market—Bill O'Reilly's latest offering clings to the NYT list at No. 8, but it's sandwiched between Tracy Kidder's new book about a medical student caught in Burundi's civil war and Nick Kristof's latest about the trafficking of women in Asia and Africa, both decidedly more highbrow than anything in the Kindle's top ten.
Once again, the internet's wealth of data has compelled us to compartmentalize our interests and narrow our worldview. We no longer browse. It's an unfortunate trait to bring to the world of books, and if the Kindle bestsellers are any indication, one that won't disappear soon.