Maybe it’s our abundance of acclaimed authors in residence, from Stephen King to Richard Russo to Tess Gerritsen. Maybe it’s because we’re used to having our electricity knocked out by winter storms and we know we’ll need entertainment that doesn’t need to be plugged in.
Or maybe, here in Maine, we just like the feel of a good book, with an interesting story playing out on physical pages inside an actual, tangible cover.
But since at least 2012, when Christmas tree retailer Treetopia reportedly began tracking holiday shoppers’ online search choices, Maine is one of only two states where books have regularly topped our Christmas lists.
Books were No. 1 for Maine holiday shoppers in 2012, 2013 and 2016. Books were atop the lists for Vermont shoppers those same years, but never hit No. 1 in any other state in any of the five years counted.
Oh, we’ve tried your fancy new-fangled reading technology gizmos. In 2015, the top gift choice in Maine was the Kindle, Amazon’s computer tablet made to replace books.
But we said, “Nah. Thanks, but no thanks.” By 2016, we were back to shopping for old-fashioned books.
This is really saying something, too, because Treetopia’s data is based on online shopping. So we’re generally talking about the part of our population that’s computer-savvy, so they’re not just buying books because they can’t figure out electronics.
Elsewhere around the country, popular gifts across multiple states have included new smartphones, video game consoles, headphones, cameras and speakers.
West Virginia shoppers are really into something called “Hatchimals.” Whatever.
Here in Maine, we prefer our books, thank you very much.
Now, you may be wondering what Mainers were shopping for that one year we weren’t going after things to read — books or Kindles. In 2014, the top things on our Christmas lists were subscription boxes. You know, like Loot Crate or Birchbox, where you pay a certain amount of money and you get a box of goodies (makeup, knick knacks, toys, candy, etc.) every month in the mail.