From ‘1984’ to ‘Atlas Shrugged’: When the News Boosts Book Sales

It’s notoriously difficult to predict whether a book will succeed. The ingredients that go into a bestseller are hazy at best, and everything from celebrity endorsements to a great cover design to sheer luck can have grand (or disappointingly little) influence. And of course, whenever a film adaptation of a book hits theaters, sales of the original text tend to get a little bump. But what about current events? Sales of George Orwell’s 1984 have skyrocketed following the NSA data collection scandal — despite Obama’s protests that this is not a Big Brother situation (or perhaps in part because he made that reference). Intrigued, Flavorwire hunted down a few more instances when news affected sales of a book.


1984, George Orwell

Sales of Orwell’s 1949 dystopian classic have shot up nearly 10,000% since news broke of the NSA’s phone monitoring system. One edition of the book (which, in case you skipped tenth-grade English, is set in a totalitarian future ruled by the omnipresent Big Brother) features a foreword by Thomas Pynchon and has become the 123rd most popular book on Amazon, a dramatic increase from its previous ranking at 11,855.