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

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

 (AP)
(AP)

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 professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He specializes in covering science and history, and is particularly passionate about climate change, animal science, disability rights, plastic pollution and a wide range of political issues. He has interviewed many prominent figures (reflecting his diverse interests) including President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), actress Cady McClain ("All My Children"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin (2002-present), comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2") and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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1984 George Orwell Kellyanne Conway Original Video Orwellian