1984 taps into snooping debacle to leap into the best sellers

Sales of George Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984 have been tapping into the NSA snooping revelations to shoot up the book charts.

The Guardian newspaper broke the news last week that the USA’s National Security Agency is gathering mobile phone data on millions of people as well as issuing top-secret orders to sequester online information from companies such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft.

Since then, Orwell’s book about a world where Big Brother rules against a background of never-ending war and even thoughts can be classified as crimes has rocketed up the sales charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Amazon.com best sellers’ list shows 1984 at No 76 at present after leaping from a ranking of around 6,000 and it would be higher if the sales were not split between Plume Publishing’s Centennial Edition of the book and the Signet classic. Barnes & Noble puts the Signet edition at No 28 on its list while the Houghton Mifflin Nook version is placed at 125 in sales rank. Mystery surrounds Houghton Mifflin’s US Kindle edition as it’s listed at No 1 in Amazon’s Dystopian Science Fiction best sellers but is described as “Not currently available for purchase.”

In the UK, the Penguin paperback with the redacted cover title, is at No 55 on the sales chart. I wonder when it’s going to strike 13? The UK Kindle edition doesn’t seem to be faring so well at No 726 overall.

Echoing the Ministry of Truth’s erasure and rewriting of history, Amazon in 2009 deleted copies of 1984 remotely from many Kindles after realising it was selling an unauthorised version of the book.