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'1984' book sales surge on NSA spy scandal

'1984' book sales are rising after the Edward Snowden revelations about NSA spying. The topic of 'Big Brother' watching has spurred the sales of  George Orwell's "1984"  and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World."

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Laura Wood of Skoob Books poses with a copy of George Orwell's '1984' in central London earlier this month. The novel, which is set in a world of government surveillance, was first published by Secker and Warburg 64 years ago.

REUTERS/Toby Melville

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There's little wonder why George Orwell's novel "1984" is seeing a resurgence in sales.

More than half of Americans polled in a survey released Thursday said they agreed with the statement "We are really in the era of Big Brother."

Sales for dystopian classics such as George Orwell's "1984" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" have been strong since news broke last week that the U.S. government had vast surveillance programs targeting phones and Internet records.

Several editions of Orwell's "1984," about an all-seeing government, were among Amazon.com's top 200 sellers as of Wednesday morning. Huxley's story of a mindless future ranked No. 210 and was out of stock.

A perennial favorite of futuristic horror, Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451," was ranked No. 75.

The survey was conducted last year by the University of Southern California –  well before recent revelations of large-scale, secret government surveillance programs – found that some 35 percent of respondents agreed that "There is no privacy, get over it."

A growing number of Internet users said they are concerned about the government checking on their online activities, according to the survey. But even more people were worried about businesses doing the same.

The USC Annenberg School's Center for the Digital Future has polled more than 2,000 U.S. households about their Internet and technology use each year, with the exception of 2011, since 1999.

Forty-three percent of Internet users said they are concerned about the government checking what they do online, up from 38 percent in 2010. But 57 percent said they were worried about private companies doing the same thing — up from 48 percent in the earlier study.

A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center found that almost three-quarters of Americans are concerned that businesses are collecting too much information about people like them, while 64 percent had the same worry about the government.

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