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Culture > News

Sales of George Orwell’s ‘1984’ Have Skyrocketed Since Trump’s Inauguration

George Orwell’s 1984 is about a dystopian society full of government surveillance and propaganda, and you may vaguely remember reading it in high school. Well, a lot of people are thinking that now’s a good time to revisit the classic—according to The New York Times, the novel has seen a surge in sales in the last few days, leading the publisher to print thousands of new copies.

Craig Burke, publicity director at Penguin USA, told the Times that the rise “started over the weekend and hit hyperactive on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.” The book has now reached a 9,500 percent increase in sales, and as of Thursday evening it was still the No. 1 bestseller on Amazon.

The rise in sales may be related (surprise!) to Donald Trump’s inauguration and its aftermath, especially Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” comment on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” When “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd confronted Conway about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd, which photographic evidence showed was much smaller than Obama’s in 2009, Conway said she had “alternative facts” on that. Many described that comment as “Orwellian” and drew comparisons to the novel, CNN Money reports.

1984 has also gained new popularity in other countries as well, with the novel seeing a 20 percent increase in sales in Great Britain and Australia, Jess Harrison, a London-based editor at Penguin Books, told the Times.

Other novels, such as It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (about an American dictator) and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (another piece of dystopian fiction), have also risen on best-seller lists, CNN reports. Seeing a pattern here?

Professor Stefan Collini, who teaches intellectual history and is an expert on Orwell at the University of Cambridge, said that readers “see a natural parallel between [1984] and the way Mr. Trump and his staff have distorted facts.”

Awesome—people are now turning to dystopian fiction to figure out how to act in today’s world. Guess that’s where we are now!

Emily has also authored political articles for Restless Magazine and numerous inspirational and empowering pieces for Project Wednesday. When she isn't writing, she can be found flying off to her next adventure, attempting new recipes, listening to one of her infinite playlists on Spotify, or cuddling with her dogs. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @emilycveith.