Monday, October 10, 2005

Who Decides What You Read?

Why, you do, of course. Right? But who decides what information you have access to? Apparently, WE do--us Red-Staters. (I've come to accept, if not embrace, my own cat-at-a-dog-show status.) A million thanks to Pia Savage for the heads-up on this article by Elizabeth Spiers from (may require free registration) today, Unwitting Media Mega-Players and the Red State Consumers Who Support Them. The subtitle is "Why media consumption in suburban Arkansas is increasingly more important than media consumption in the big city." If you're local, it probably won't tell you anything you don't already know, but I bet it will show you things you might not have thought about before. Now go. Read. No matter where you're from, or which way you lean.


  1. Hi - just browsed in here after following a link from another blogger who thought your blog was great.

    Interesting stuff.

    p.s. have you looked at BlogRank yet? ( - it might help you get more visitors)

  2. Interesting article, but not much that I hadn't already thought of. When you travel outside the US, especially to London, the first thing you notice is that the bookstores there carry totally different stuff than you would seen in your average Target/Barnes&Noble/Borders/Walmart (not that I've ever been to a walmart, because I haven't but..). I'm a hardcore reader and I spend more money on books than anything else. We have acres of shelving in our house and we still don't have enough to house all our books. I spend a lot of time in bookstores and although I'm not a big box retail shopper as a rule, I do look at what Target has when I visit. I see a lot of self-help, food related dieting books, Christian advocacy books, and 'little nothing' books mixed in with the most popular of trashy writers like Judith Krantz. Rarely do I see anything I want to buy. It's just not the kind of reading I do. What concerns me most is that the big box retailers often carry what I think is innapropriate teen fiction, like Gossip Girls. Horrible books those. I don't know if it's rural vs urban, big box vs direct sellers, red vs blue states, but I know that when I buy books, I go to our local independant retailer that happens to be one of the largest bookstores in the US, New England Mobile Bookfair, and although they do carry popular fiction, is is displayed in the way back of the store, just like you see in London bookstores. Makes me feel right at home.

  3. I'm sure there are more, but I can only think of two independent bookstores in this entire state. I think that's the point the article is places like this, the big-box stores are often the only option. The population here is not dense like it is in big cities. I'm always surprised that my local Hastings carries magazines from the U.K., and we have such a large Hispanic population that there are plenty of Spanish-language books and mags.

    I can't even imagine a reality where it's possible to never have been to Wal-Mart...that should tell you something!

  4. Very interesting article- and it is amazing just how much the chain stores really are controlling the media people in a large chunk of this country are exposed to.

  5. THe n earest Walmart opened up a year ago about 20 miles from here, and I've never had a reason to go. Target is so close and so much more 'me' but for the most part I only shop at local stores. There aren't a lot of chain retailers near me, and if they are chains, they're local chains and not national. We have Marshalls, but they started here, ditto for TJ Maxx. My town has both a Borders and a Barnes and Noble, but we also have several independant booksellers and I'd just rather support them. Besides, my favorite bookstore in the world is about 3 blocks from our house. Can't beat that!

    I guess with the dearth of local booksellers, people have to rely on amazon and other online sellers. I know when we were in CA I shopped online for books but since being back here, no way. I love the whole experience of the bookstore. Love the smell, the feel, the sounds, chatting with others who have read the same things I have. It's such a nice feeling.