Lifestyle & Belief

1984 by George Orwell sales spike after NSA surveillance leaks


Sales of George Orwell's novel '1984' have spiked since the recent NSA surveillance leaks, with many people comparing the government's actions to those of 'Big Brother' in the novel.



Big Brother is back.

George Orwell's dystopian 1949 novel "1984" is currently experiencing a renaissance in light of the recent National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance leaks.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the book jumped an incredible 3,100 percent to number 6 on Amazon's "movers and shakers" list.

The book jumped 7,000 percent earlier in the day.

Its current sales rank is now 194 from 6,208, a spectacular leap for a book written more than a half-century ago.

The recent leaks that exposed a massive surveillance program conducted by the NSA have some claiming that Orwell was prophetic in his description of a state that tracked not only the movements, but also the thoughts, of its citizens.

"Throwing out such a broad net of surveillance is exactly the kind of threat Orwell feared," Michael Shelden, author of Orwell: The Authorized Biography told NPR.

More from GlobalPost: EU challenges Obama administration over surveillance program

"What he saw was that over time, surveillance would become pervasive," Shelden said. "He just took that idea and expanded it in Nineteen Eighty-Four to basically a police state."

Oddly, Obama defended the surveillance program last Friday while referencing the novel: "In the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, then I think we've struck the right balance."

Others believe that Franz Kafka's novels like "The Castle" and "The Trial," about the banal evil in out-of-control bureaucracies, are more apt to the NSA scandal.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the sales jump for 1984 was a nice birthday present for the book, which celebrated its 64th anniversary on June 8.

It is not the first time that US government policies have sparked a book-buying spree.

The 2008 bank bailout saw sales of Ayn Rand's ode to capitalism "Atlas Shrugged" soar.