Online sales of George Orwell’s novel 1984 have soared in recent days, as President Donald Trump continues to spread lies and misinformation. The dystopian book, first published in 1949, is now the best-selling book on Amazon as of Wednesday morning, and sits at number six among paid books in Apple’s iBooks app.
1984 began climbing Amazon’s rankings after Press Secretary Sean Spicer blatantly lied to the media last week about the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration. White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway later defended Spicer’s comments on Sunday, describing them as “alternative facts” on NBC’s Meet the Press. Conway’s comments drew comparisons to Orwell’s term “doublethink” — the ability to believe two contradictory things simultaneously — and “Newspeak,” the deliberately misleading language of the totalitarian state described in the book.
A spokesman for Penguin, the publisher of 1984, told CNN that sales for the book typically rise at the beginning of the year, since it is commonly part of curricula in schools. But the spokesman said the spike seen this week has been unusually high.
“We put through a 75,000 copy reprint this week,” the spokesman said to CNN. “That is a substantial reprint and larger than our typical reprint for 1984.”
The last time 1984 saw a surge in sales was in 2013, after Edward Snowden leaked details about the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs.