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'1984' Book Sales Jump 7000 Percent After NSA Surveillance News

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Thursday, 13 Jun 2013 09:53 AM

By Morgan Chilson

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Sales of George Orwell’s book "1984" rose dramatically this week on Amazon, with three editions of "1984" sitting in the Top 10, and many are attributing the resurgence to revelations of a government surveillance program monitoring Americans.

Amazon’s Movers & Shakers countdown pointed to three different editions of Orwell’s book that have been climbing in popularity since the news of the NSA’s clandestine spying program PRISM broke.

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The Centennial Edition of "1984" increased its sales rank by 7000 percent, according to Gawker.com. The book was ranked at 12,189 last week, but sat at 123 Tuesday afternoon.

Although the book’s sudden increased popularity may be due to concerns that the government is watching a little too closely, comments on many of the articles attributed the cause to "1984" marking its 60th anniversary last week and also to summer reading lists for kids.

But social media conversations also centered around the ideas espoused in "1984" and other futuristic books like Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

“I’ve always seen Orwell as more of a humanist and his fiction more as warnings than entertainment. If we’re heading toward totalitarianism in all its insidious subtlety, best to go with the greatest warning against totalitarianism ever written,” wrote Tallgent on EW.com. “But yeah, I think Aldous Huxley’s novel 'Brave New World' is even better in some respects because this is also reflective of our times — perhaps even more so — a society drunk on pop culture soma and virtual entertainment failing to recognize the dehumanization happening around them — until it's too late.”

Conversations around the future as dictated by digital surveillance ramped up across the Internet, including an intellectual foray into why the surveillance and databases are an issue, done by Atlantic writer Rebecca J. Rosen. She talked about legal scholar Daniel Solove’s view, highlighted in his book "The Digital Person."

But for many, the Orwell sales numbers were an opportunity to talk politically about privacy.



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Related stories:

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Intelligence Chief Clapper Blasts NSA Document Leaks

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