George Orwell's dystopian fiction Nineteen Eighty-Four is enjoying a renaissance. According to the latest sales rankings published by Amazon, sales of the classic novel's 2003 reprint have spiked 3,100 percent over the past 24 hours as coverage has widened of the fresh reports (and new confusion) about the National Security Agency's data-gathering programs and the 29-year-old Booz Allen Hamilton ex-employee, Edward Snowden, who leaked details about them last week.
The coincidence is striking for reasons beyond the sudden conversation about state-sponsored surveillance, which the society depicted in Orwell's novel takes to its extreme end. National Journal noted last week, the NSA revelations surfaced a few days before the anniversary of Nineteen Eighty-Four's original publication date on June 8, 1949. And Amazon itself encountered its own Orwellian controversy nearly four years ago, in July 2009, when the company remotely deleted thousands of digital copies of the novel from customers' Kindles.
The sales spike could be even more pronounced than current data indicate. Earlier this morning Geekosystem reported that sales for the same 2003 edition has spike nearly 7,000 percent, a moment captured by a screenshot at Gawker.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.