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This article was published on January 26, 2017

Amazon sells out of ‘1984’ after America remembers it can read

Amazon sells out of ‘1984’ after America remembers it can read Image by: Jason Ilagan/Flickr
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

After nearly a week on the best-seller list, and a push to the number one spot yesterday — Amazon has now sold out of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, ‘1984.’

If you’re wondering what caused the surge of interest in a book first published in 1949, a look at Google Trends seems to point towards the obvious cause: Trump’s inauguration. Just a day after President Trump took office, Orwellian paranoia grabbed hold and sent both hardcover and paperback versions of the book flying off Amazon’s shelves. Luckily, you can still grab the Kindle version.

The movement started the day after Trump officially took office, and while Google Trends isn’t aligned with Amazon, it seems to show a clear pattern of what people were thinking after the inauguration. The first significant movement happened on January 21, the day after Trump was sworn in. Coincidently, or perhaps not, the day featured Trump blasting the press over perceived bias when reporting that his inauguration turnout wasn’t near the “1.5 million” he reported it to be.

No matter what the reason, I’m just proud that Americans picked up a book. For further reading, I’d suggest ‘A Brave New World,’ a book by Aldous Huxley that (arguably) paints a better picture of what the future looks like.

According to Neil Postman, in the forward of his book ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.