Amid NSA Scandal, Orwell Books Rocket Up The Sellers Lists

from the i-thought-nobody-cared? dept

As the NSA spying scandal lumbers along, or as some reports suggest, begins, reports of American apathy have already rolled in. Of course, those supposed indifferent shrugs tend to amount more to how the questions are being asked than actual viewpoints. Couple that with how social humans are as a species, is in my opinion quite dangerous. It'd be all too easy for people to hear reports that nobody really seems to care about any of this intrusive data gathering business and decide that they should feel similarly.

Fortunately, there's at least some evidence that such an effect isn't occurring. Otherwise, we're going to have to come up with a whole new logical reason as to why George Orwell's books, particularly 1984, are skyrocketing up the hot sellers lists. As Gawker notes:
According to Amazon's Movers & Shakers countdown, three different editions of George Orwell's alt-history book Nineteen Eighty-Four have shot up hundreds of spots on the chart since news of the NSA's clandestine spying program PRISM broke late last week. One edition in particular — the Centennial Edition — has exploded in popularity, increasing its sales rank by 7,000% in days.
Now, before you cheer this on, it's worth noting that other books on the "Movers and Shakers" list aren't so politically-minded, unless books on being a gentleman (pshhh!), books on calorie counting (pshhh!), or books by Glenn Beck (PSHHH!) actually have some value there that I'm not aware of. Still, it's encouraging to see signs that people are paying attention. That, after all, is how change actually occurs. I might suggest some lovely texts by Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine as well, but Orwell is certainly a start.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Christopher Smith (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:09pm

    Glenn Beck?

    For all the legitimate criticism, unless you were making a joke I didn't get, I'm not sure how Glenn Beck qualifies as non-political, especially in this particular context.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:13pm

    Part of the plan

    Obama has been about "clean" energy. Orwell's corpse has already been connected to a dynamo and is powering a small town.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:15pm

    Milk it for all it's worth

    While it lasts..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:18pm

    How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    It's a vital stat for your target audience here. You should provide a torrent link.

    I actually tried to find out! But it's down for me at the moment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:20pm

    Re: Milk it for all it's worth

    I really don't think the dairy industry is getting their money's worth from you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:26pm

    Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    Put up a torrent to pirate a book, suddenly the site is abducted by motherfucking eagles.
    Nice try Blue.
    Are you advocating piracy?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Milk it for all it's worth

    7 of the 13 articles on front page of the WP mobile app are about this, but yeah, they're just milking it too.
    Please, we've put up with you during your time in law school trying to audition for one of the *AA's. You didn't get the job. You're not going to get the job. Maybe you should just go out and get a real job.

     

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  8.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:26pm

    Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    "I actually tried to find out! But it's down for me at the moment."

    It must be down for everyone since people are buying it in droves. You can't compete with free so there must not be a free option.

    The king of tin foil hats does bring up a valid question (though he asked it in a profoundly stupid way). I wonder how much that book has been downloaded illegally. Can you even buy an ebook version of 1984? After that Amazon thing, I figured there were no ebook versions.

     

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  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:32pm

    Couple that with how social humans are as a species, is in my opinion quite dangerous.

    What ?????

     

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  10.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:35pm

    Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    Don't pirate it. Buy it - because George Orwell needs the money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:38pm

    Re: Milk it for all it's worth

    The moment TechDirt skips a story because they feel they've covered something too much is the exact moment you come here saying "why didn't you mention this? Are you self-censoring again?"

    I want TechDirt to cover every nook and cranny of this story, so yes, keep on milking it.

     

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  12.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:47pm

    Re:

    Humans are pack animals by nature, they tend to go with the herd. It's why we have things like flash mobs and sheeple. Individually, when confronted with the facts, people would not act that way. Put them in a group where they see others acting that way, they think they're allowed to as well. Not only can they be given permission to act wrong or to not act, most people will also try to fit in with the crowd, to be socially accepted.

    I could go on, but at this point, I don't think I need to.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    Or one could simply download a text file.

     

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  14. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    horse with no name, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 9:03pm

    Tin Foil Reading List

    The tin foil hatters have to read something to stoke their fears. I hope they can concentrate with those helicopters above the house.

    You guys need to get out more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re:

    Not me. I enjoy being anarchist anti-Amerikkka girl-loving rebellious me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Big Al (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 9:11pm

    Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    Why should I go to the Pirate Bay when it's out of copyright?

    Oh - that's right. I live in Australia, not the US

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 9:11pm

    Re: Re: Milk it for all it's worth

    Yeah, its tough to get milk from a steer (the milky/AC dolt).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 9:26pm

    Re: Tin Foil Reading List

    You mad, brony?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Cyber Killer, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    Yup, the book is in public domain, so enjoy → http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/o/orwell/george/o79n/ :-)

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 9:35pm

    Amazon, eh? How cuddly are they with the NSA?

     

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  21. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    horse with no name, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 10:09pm

    Re: Re: Tin Foil Reading List

    No, why would you think that? It's hard to be mad at anything when you are laughing so hard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 10:17pm

    Re:

    Don't worry. You're one of the least social humans (if that's what we can call you, such as you are) ever. Unless you start talking to people that aren't solar panels you should never be at risk.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2013 @ 10:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Tin Foil Reading List

    He's not mad. horse with no name just hates it when due process is enforced, that's all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Alana (profile), Jun 11th, 2013 @ 10:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Tin Foil Reading List

    Isn't that the same thing as being mad

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 12:17am

    Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    Its public domain isn't it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 12:18am

    Re: Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    Whoops (should have checked before posting) it will be in 2020

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 12:22am

    Re: Tin Foil Reading List

    1984 is very a good book.

    You are the only one around here with the foil hat on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 1:20am

    Re: Re: Milk it for all it's worth

    Can we have a double insightful button for your first paragraph?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 1:23am

    I am not surprised. People are rushing out to buy 1984 because they want to see what kind of society they will soon be living in.

     

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  30.  
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    jameshogg (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 2:04am

    Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    Tell that to the Soviet dissidents of the 20th century who were forced to pirate the book in order to evade the secret police.

    And the Iranians now who are forced to pirate copies of Animal Farm.

    Not to mention a lot of the Chinese who need to smuggle goods underground in order to a) avoid the eyes of the secret police and b) get by the government's trade restrictions that are deliberately designed to take advantage of copyright law's existence.

    I keep saying - to attack the Chinese government's cheating of free trade through monopoly of piracy, you need to get rid of the monopoly system that is causing it, which is copyright law.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:00am

    Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    The book is out of copyright and in the public domain in the rest of the english-speaking world, only the US increased the term of copyright to make more pirates. really if you can't make a hansom profit in under 50 years on a book, you shouldn't be in publishing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Liz (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:53am

    Re: Glenn Beck?

    Have you read anything from Glenn Beck? Agenda 21, Being George Washington, Common Sense, The Overton Window, and two kids books The Christmas Sweater and People Behind the Patriots.

    He writes some interesting speculative fiction and alternate history books not unlike Ray Bradbury or George Orwell. I mean, if you toss out your suspension of disbelief, his writing is almost passable!

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:59am

    it's not just because of what is in the books, particularly '1984', but because everywhere people look, they can see how things are moving in the direction written about. if we get to that point and i believe that we are much closer to it than we would like to think or admit, then we are it deep shit! governments are not trusted by the people any more, so governments force undue hardships. anything that can be done to keep the people suppressed is brought into play. censorship then begins, not because of anything other than to try to stem the flow of information of what is happening in one country or to one people from being relayed to another. those in charge are behind the times, certainly in the majority of cases, with today's technology. the only way is to stop what they can from developing and ban what has already been developed. that is their way of maintaining control!

     

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  34.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 4:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    According to Wikipedia, it will be in the public domain in Europe and Russia in 2020. Americans have to wait until 2044, while it's already public domain in some other countries.

     

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  35.  
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    larry, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 4:40am

    Download free (legal)

     

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  36.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 4:46am

    Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    "I wonder how much that book has been downloaded illegally."

    Probably lots, but that's really irrelevant to any point. ootb can't attack Mike for talking about the legal version though, so he has to make some stupid attack based on some tangential fiction. He has to tread lightly, because he can't admit that he agrees with Mike on the basic facts (it doesn't necessarily matter since the legal copy is doing very nicely). He also can't pull a morality spin about stealing from Orwell, since he probably died before anyone commenting here was born. So, he has to come up with some barely comprehensible rubbish that only makes himself look like an idiot - SOP for him.

    "Can you even buy an ebook version of 1984? After that Amazon thing, I figured there were no ebook versions."

    Yep, it's definitely for sale from various publishers. The scandal at Amazon was just over one particular publisher who they discovered didn't have the US publishing rights for the book (although they had rights elsewhere). Only that particular version was affected, the copies from other publishers were still OK. The scandal itself was more about how Amazon handled the issue (they deleted paid copies without warning from peoples' Kindles) than the fact that they pulled that version.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 4:51am

    Re: Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    Oops... and by Mike I mean Tim, sorry Tim! My excuse is... I have none but at least I'm not afraid to apologise for it unlike those who attack the authors here :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 5:20am

    Re: Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    Look on the bright side, I'm pretty sure George is making more money off Americans than ever before. No idea how he's benefiting from it but he must be, right? Copyright law said so!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    Plum, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 5:35am

    So...

    How long until the NSA and co. label Orwell as an extreme terrorist for maliciously planting the foolish idea in people's heads that constant surveillance is somehow a bad thing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 6:17am

    Check out "Escape From L.A." We are headed there next.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_from_L.A.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Arnold, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 6:30am

    Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    The book is out of copyright. Easy, free and legal to download
    http://archive.org/details/ost-english-1984-george-orwell-1937-dystopia

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 6:48am

    I have a huge Library of physical Books which I collect and have been doing this since 1968.
    I admit it.........I am a proud Dinosaur who owns no Digital Files at all but only physical.
    My Treasured Copy of 1984 is the 1952 published Signet Classics No.798 version which has the lurid pulp art cover.
    Anti-Sex League are a drag !!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 6:50am

    Re:

    Crappy CGI surfing will cause even major fanboys of the director to admit he's lost the plot? Or was that just me?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    JWW (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 7:10am

    Re: Glenn Beck?

    I have to agree that Beck's writing has undertones similar to Orwell. You obviously don't politically agree with Beck, but his works moving up the lists on Amazon are IMHO directly related to the same trend moving Orwell's up.

     

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  45.  
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    JWW (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Milk it for all it's worth

    Yep, gotta agree. More milk please.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    JJ Joseph, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 8:55am

    Re: 1984

    Yes, it's public domain. It's available on Gutenberg, a free download.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    JJ Joseph, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 8:58am

    Re: 1984

    It's also available (free download) on Gutenberg, in any format you want.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Plum, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    Only in some countries. Canada for example. In most of the world though, it's still in copyright.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    JJ Joseph, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 9:17am

    Does anybody here have any idea what NSA (or even TSA) are trying to do? They're trying to find enemies of non-Muslim American people while being strapped into a politically correct body-brace. It's nothing to do with Big Brother's agenda. It's working within the chicken-sh*t guidelines set down by our lily-livered politicians. Until we're ready to call a spade a spade, we're going to have to put up with cavity searches of little old ladies and Christian clergymen. This non-issue is going to be a bit of a nuisance until we're ready to name the enemy of free people everywhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 10:27am

    Re:

    until we're ready to name the enemy of free people everywhere.


    I notice that you didn't name them either. Who are they?

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    BigKeithO, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    It is public domain in Canada. I just downloaded the ePub actually. 1984 and Animal Farm, never read either of them.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: How are those doing in no-cost ebook form on The Pirate Bay?

    Shhhh. Don't mention that. darryl hates it when Australia gets Fair Use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    JJ Joseph, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 7:03pm

    That which must not be named

    To be honest, I'm not that excited about encouraging these unnamed self-righteous goofs to place a fatwa upon my ass, so I'm trying to avoid naming them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jun 13th, 2013 @ 2:35pm

    Re:

    Heck, I still have Fotonovels of "Star Trek", "Battlestar Galactica", and even "Mork & Mindy".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    identicon
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