Books

George Orwell's 1984 Is Back on the Bestseller List

The dystopian classic is seeing a resurgence.
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George Orwell's 68-year-old science fiction novel 1984 is back on the bestseller list this week, currently claiming the top spot on Amazon.com's ranking of the most popular books based on sales.

Many are crediting the resurgence of the classic tale of tyranny, omnipresent government surveillance by "Big Brother," and the manipulation of the public to widespread anxieties about the Trump administration—and in particular to adviser Kellyanne Conway's use of the phrase "alternative facts" to defend false statements White House press secretary Sean Spicer made in a briefing.

"Alternative facts" is "a George Orwell phrase," said Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty on the CNN program "Reliable Sources."

"This brings us to '1984' doublethink," said political historian Allan Lichtman on CNN, "where war is really peace, where famine is really plenty. That's what's happening here."

The book's sudden popularity prompted its publisher Penguin to increase the size of its reprint. "We put through a 75,000 copy reprint this week. That is a substantial reprint and larger than our typical reprint for '1984,'" a Penguin spokesman told CNNMoney.

Granted, the spring semester always requires a surplus of the oft-taught text, but demand is still higher than normal, a statistic emphasized by the Nielsen BookScan, which according to CNN reports that 47,000 copies of 1984 have been sold since Election Day, an increase over the 36,000 copies sold over the same time period one year ago.

1984 isn't the only publication benefiting from the Trump presidency. In the days following then President-elect Trump's angry tweet about Vanity Fair, the magazine saw its new subscriptions increase "100 fold," reports Folio.


"This was the highest number of subscriptions sold in a single day ever at Condé Nast," a company spokesperson told Folio.

Immediately following the election, newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal all reported a significant increase in subscribers.

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ProPublica, independent, nonprofit newsroom also saw a surge of donations.

Other books in Amazon's top ten currently range from The Whole 30 cookbook to the text on which Hidden Figures is based to J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir of "growing up in a poor Rust Belt town." Slightly lower on the best seller list are Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and President Trump's The Art of the Deal.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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Caroline Hallemann
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