People are suddenly interested in reading "1984" again after hearing about "alternative facts"

It's either one heck of a coincidence or, perhaps, a sign that Americans are seeing Orwellian politics in 2017

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 26, 2017 1:00PM (EST)


George Orwell's classic dystopian novel "1984" has occupied the top slot on Amazon's best-selling books list since Tuesday evening.

"1984" first appeared on the best-seller list, which is updated hourly, when it emerged as the sixth best-seller on Monday. It gradually rose to the second spot by Tuesday and finally hit the top spot on Tuesday evening.

"We put through a 75,000 copy reprint this week," a spokesman from Penguin, the publishing house that owns "1984," told CNN. "That is a substantial reprint and larger than our typical reprint for '1984.'" Although the spokesman acknowledged that copies of the book usually spike at the start of a new academic semester, it is rare for "1984" to be reprinted at this scale.

Nielsen BookScan found that "1984" has sold 47,000 print copies since Donald Trump's election, an increase of 9,000 over the number sold in the same period one year ago.

This isn't the first time that sales of "1984" have gone up when the American government has started behaving in an Orwellian fashion. Sales also spiked in the summer of 2013, after Edward Snowden disclosed that the National Security Agency had engaged in mass surveillance against its own citizens. This time, the impetus for the increase seems to be Trump's election broadly and the coining of the term "alternative facts" to describe situations in which the Trump administration lies in order to advance its own agenda.


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

1984 George Orwell Kellyanne Conway Original Video Orwellian