George Orwell’s 1984 Sees Huge Sales Spike In Wake Of NSA Scandal

By Nick Venable | 7 years ago

1984We don’t like to get into the whole Edward Snowden/NSA/Prism conversation here at Giant Freakin’ Robot because our blood pressure can only get so high, and there’s more than enough stories about that to go around. But we’re here to tell you what no one else is telling you: George Orwell is alive! And all of the NSA’s top surveillance programs were created by the wise author years ago in order to drive up sales of his novel 1984 some 65 years after it was first published!

None of that is true, of course, but 1984 really has surged in popularity on Amazon since Snowden’s leak hit the news. The book jumped from the 7,636th spot to 123rd, with sales increasing by the thousands in just a few days. This past Tuesday, the book was ranked number four on Amazon’s “movers and shakers list.” This is the time of year when parents and students are often picking up reading-list titles for the next school year, which does normally give Orwell’s book an upswing in sales, but this new shift was called “dramatic” by Liz Keenan of Penguin Press.

Who would have thought a book about an all-seeing government would get referenced during a time when we learn that our own government has been busting its ass for many years trying to reach the all-seeing status. Orwell’s novel has been name-checked all over the news, with even President Obama saying, “In the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, then I think we’ve struck the right balance.” The non-validity of that statement aside, Keenan definitely attributes the sales to the current headline-grabbing story.

“The current coverage has translated in a surge in mentions and conversations about Orwell’s classic providing new platforms of discovery to bring readers to the book,” she told But for those of you who may not have read the classic, don’t go thinking it takes a massive scandal to make the book relatable. “It is a perennial classic on the Plume perpetual bookshelf, and the interest and relevancy of it has never really waned since its original publication,” she continued. “Of course the themes and political and social issues explored in the book feel even more relevant. And the current news cycle, prophetic.”

Don’t be surprised if any potential film adaptations of the novel take a current-events approach to the story. Operation Older Male Sibling, commence.

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