Amazon Sells Out Of George Orwell's 1984

George Orwell's dystopian classic 1984 occupied the number one spot on Amazon's best-selling books list last week, where it remains today. A cautionary tale about a brutal, amoral dictator has evidently felt relevant to people lately. But as of today, Amazon — the world's largest bookseller — is unable to keep up with demand.

Image: Amazon

Currently 1984 is printed by Signet Classics, and both the hardcover and softcover versions are listed as "temporarily out of stock". As CNN reported yesterday, Penguin (the parent company of the New American Library, Signet's parent company) is racing to print more copies of Orwell's novel. Under the Trump administration, quotes like, "The object of torture is torture" and "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — for ever" must be resonating with people. Go figure.

Image: Amazon

Digital editions aren't consumable so anyone seeking to reread a piece of their high school curriculum can easily do so on an e-reader or use Amazon to purchase used and out-of-print copies through third party sellers. Realistically, this isn't a big deal and copies will surely be back in stock soon for those of us who prefer our speculative fiction on dead trees. It's still bonkers to think Amazon would manage to completely sell out of a classic, mass-market book this widely read.

We've reached out to George Orwell to see why he thinks his book is suddenly experiencing a surge of popularity. Orwell has been dead for over 60 years, but we'll update if we hear back. Until then it's anyone's best guess.

Update: Amazon now lists the mass market paperback version as being in stock starting February 3.



    Note to The Donald: 1984 wasn't supposed to be an instruction manual.

      While the language police used to be the Christian Right, it is now most definitely the Authoritarian Left.

        lol, expressing your opinion doesn't make you authoritarian.. Just because the same opinion is being expressed, passionately, buy lots of people and media, doesn't change this.

          I never said it did, I didn't even imply that peaceful protests are indicative of authoritarianism. But if you are denying that there are a growing number on the left that are willing participants and advocates of violence to further their ideologies, then you are deluded. They are who I define as the Authoritarian Left, and they are who I want to distance myself from as a Liberal.

        Telling someone they cant go out and yell at the muslim woman they are a terrorist is not cracking down on free speech, Its cracking down on people being arseholes.

        Telling someone they cant say Homosexuals are an abomination is not cracking down on freedome of speech, Its trying to make people nice human beings, Not arseholes.

        Freedom of speech does not give you the freedom to be an arsehole

          Um, yes that's exactly what it does.

          But having the freedom to be an arsehole and it being okay/encouraged to be one are not the same. If you choose to be an arsehole you will be judged by society accordingly.

          @djbear +1

          With every freedom comes an associated responsibility.

          Some people don't seem to get this.

          Lol, what an absurd statement to make. Being an arsehole is not illegal, nor should it ever be.

          I would point out however that your first example is not just being an arsehole, but is defamation and should be followed by legal proceedings.

          Someones opinion on homosexuality is as protected in their belief of god or in creationism and they are entitled to verbalise it. I am then entitled to call them a muppet.

            @gravitas you realise you just made your own circular argument?

            Last edited 31/01/17 11:59 am

              Incitement to violence, harassment and libel are exceptions I accept. I would say those things are quantifiable and take you over the mere 'arsehole' level . Using a subjective level of offence to guide you is worthless in my opinion, and subject to abuse if codified.

                "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."

                  “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”

                  "Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike."

                  Last edited 31/01/17 10:38 pm

    I don't know about other parts of the world, but the book is in the public domain here in Australia. It's available for free on the Australian Project Gutenberg site.

      Yeah but people are stupid. They'll read the book and transpose Donald Trump's face over Big Bro's and be all like, "this is happening right now you guys!"

        Evidence please? Not everyone's as dumb as your implying. Define "stupid", that they will see similarities between it (the book) and Trumps presidency? I'm pretty sure most people know its a great piece of scifi...(fiction), and cant help but see links. It doesn't imply in anyway that they think its all "happening". Its "themes" have rung true in many other smaller regimes around the world well before, and well after it was written. People will always find some causality in art mate, I mean its just another way of depicting reality. Seeing those similarities, does not make one stupid.

          Yes exactly. If you read 1984 and find relevance to one of 2016 presidential candidates and it's Donald Trump you are stupid... or just super ignorant.

            No, You just cant handle the similarities because it makes zeh fuhrer drumpf look bad. Much like drumpf and his supporters, If there is anything negative said about him. You all go into fits yelling fake news.

              Please list all the similarities between Big Brother / Ingsoc and Trump / Republicans... lol

              Trump / Republicans are for big government now? The world really is upside down..

            I cant even imagine how terrible your existence must be to motivate you into putting energy behind a creature of such baseness.

            Last edited 10/05/17 12:01 pm

    Oh holy geebus will you stop with the anti Trump crap already. I didn't read Gizmodo relating 1984 to Obama stomping on the heads of every country he was blowing the crap out of over the last 8 yeats.

    Look at what is happening in Europe with the unchecked immigration. Trump promised to put a stop to this in his own country and to make sure only legal immigrants get to stay.

    Yes there are unintended consequences of his EO's but there must be some cognitive dissonance when someone wins a noble peace prize when blowing the shit out of these Muslim countries, funding and arming Isis .... I mean moderate rebels. "War is peace". Yet someone who hasnt blown the shit out of anyone is stomping on a human face?

    Trump appears to be a bit of a tool but this all out war from the mainstream media against him is so bleeding obvious it makes me wonder why people areally too stupid to see it for what it is. A pink revolution? Look at all the coloured revolutions run by Soros over the last decade or so. God cheer on the globalists who are the real people stomping on the human face. Bloody tools.

      The dems are definitely Ingsoc in 2017.

      Evidence: The hatred and bigotry being directed to the right and the left's normalisation of extremism...

        Feel like hatred and bigotry is being directed towards the right? Really? Any right wingers been banned from a country lately? If your biggest complaint is that people are intolerant of racism, sexism and bigotry well boo hoo, cry me a river. And the left is normalizing extremism? In what possible form? Extreme tolerance of minorities maybe, tell me how that's a bad thing.

          You really think that those from the 6 countries in question are Left Wing? I find it hilarious that most Muslims vote on the left, as I do, given that few of the core tenets of their faith are any more liberal than those of the Christian Right. I guess it just underlines how many people are willing to vote in line with their own best interests, rather than their principles.

          No they've just been dragged out of their cars and beaten... or kidnapped and tortured... or has their property destroyed... you're right, that's way more acceptable...

      Exactly what is happening in Europe? Is it any different to the home-grown, blond-haired white supremacist who was caught before he could go on a shooting rampage through Westfield Tuggerah? Refugees are easy targets but we have tens of thousands of them in Australia and very few problems.

      In any event, what Trump is doing is just grandstanding - none of the countries the 9/11 bombers came from are on his banned list and the countries that are have never contributed to US based terrorism. More telling is the fact that he left off any country in which he has business interests, so we are already seeing, after just one week in office, how he will put his business interests ahead of the needs of the country.

      The carnage has begun and I would be very surprised if the US survives the next four years and remains the global powerhouse it is today. Trump's isolationist policies will encourage the rest of the world to look elsewhere at a time when China is just getting itself into a position to dominate the global market. In the longer term this will lead to the ascendency of China as the global driving force and America becoming globally irrelevant. Trump is basically handing the world over to China, he is just too stupid to see it.

        Exactly what is happening in Europe?


        Unfettered immigration as a result of blowing the shit out of other countries... I mean regime change.

        How about not trying to bring about "democracy" aka blowing the shit out of other countries and looking after your own country. That way they can live happily in their own country. Oh that's right that is being racist.


          You know they tried looking after there own country, But republicans love starting wars in them. Also, Good job labelling all muslims as terrorists there numpty.

        Yeah because rape gangs in Europe are a homegrown phenomenum.

        Running groups of people over with large vehicles is a longstanding European tradition.

        So the people carrying out these acts are just assimilating into
        European culture?

        You sir boggle the mind!

          So therefore racism and bigotry is justified now? A minoity has done terrible things so treating all muslims in europe as terrorists is justified then?

            No. Racism and bigotry is never acceptable. It's also irrelevant to the concept of migration... What's your point?

        Just for the record the list is not Trumps, it's one that Obama was working off when he implemented his own, admittedly less stringent, visa restriction policy a few years ago.

            Yes, I read that too. Although I'm sure it only gave it two Pinocchios when I read it. What's your point? I didn't say they were 'similar' only that the list was Obamas and that Obama implemented a less stringent policy a few years ago. Both statements backed up by the objective reporting of the Washington Post, thanks for the citation. Facile does not mean incorrect by the way, over simplifications can still be somewhat true.

              The argument, I suppose, is that what happened during Obama's tenure was less a restriction (and certainly less of a blanket ban) and more a backlog of work caused by new vetting guidelines.

              Not disputing the origin of the list at all.

              Last edited 31/01/17 2:31 pm

                So now a blanket ban is when 12.5% or less of a group's population is affected?

                Man Oxford's going to have to start releasing dictionaries monthly so we can keep up with all the Newspeak the hard left is coming up with.

      Not to mention the vast expansion of surveillance and power to the NSA under the Obama administration.

      If you think someone that won the Nobel peace prize bombed so many countries, what do you think a person with hatred and bigotry will do?

    And it is back in stock today.... They probably keep 10 copies on the shelf and there was a 'rush'. Giz is just becoming another fake news site.

    Be better than this Giz. *did* sell out? That's not "fake news", it's what actually happened.

      There was also an update with the best info we had at the time for when it would be restocked. Thanks for the heads up on the re-stocking earlier than anticipated, I'll update it again for the author :)

        Well non-news then. I still think you guys are better than this though.

      Yeah Gizmodo isn't fake news, it is like the left wing version of Fox News. Report and spin whatever you can to fit your narrative.

      Like what does this have to do with technology? The fact that Amazon is a website? Desperate.

      Last edited 30/01/17 1:19 pm

    Saying that 1984 is "about a brutal amoral dictator" completely misses the point.

    The dictator character is barely referenced, and they only serve as a figurehead representing a tyrannical government.

    The point of the book is about mass surveilance, control of speech and perpetual warfare.

    People should have been buying the book during the reign of Obama the drone king and Killary the warmongering secretary of state. The number of electronic communications intercepted, bombs dropped and drone strikes is at an all time high, and I don't see this as a Trump phenomena.

      It's about humanity in general. Same old story, power and control. Could have put any date to it really.

      The rich and powerful, the 'aspirational' middle-class (enablers) and the powerless (human cattle).

      Make your point without parodying people's names or adding denigrating prefixes to them. You only undermine yourself by going for low blows.

        Have you made similar admonishments to those taking the piss out of Trump? I must have missed them.

          What parody or denigrating prefix have people added to Trump's name? The only alternate name I've heard people say is Drumpf, which is neither a parody nor denigration, it's just the original German spelling of his surname used by his grandfather before it was anglicised.

          I'm not really a fan of the Drumpf thing, but it's clearly not on the same level as 'Killary', or Trump's other favoured insults like 'Crooked Hillary, 'Lyin' Ted', 'Crazy Bernie', etc.

          Last edited 31/01/17 7:39 am

            But 'Zombie Jesus' is okay ?

              Why wouldn't it be? It's not in reference to a living person, nor is it denigrating. It's also not being used to diminish someone as a point of argument, as the examples I gave above and jonogm's own usage intended. I'm sure you can see the difference.

                I am just checking. You seem concerned in defense of other people but have no problem with your own in joke, whether it is offensive to anyone or not. I don't think you understand the similarity.

                  I have a problem with people being insulted as a means of undermining their arguments. It has nothing to do with making jokes and there's no comparison to my choice of name, which is a Futurama reference.

            Oh, I see. It's specifically parodies or prefixes you object to, not ad hominems in general, and they have to be above a certain 'level' to qualify. I'm not sure it's logical to draw that distinction, but whatever floats your boat. Could we include prefixing Trump with 'Orange' among those things you would chastise someone for? Not above the 'level'?

            Last edited 31/01/17 1:08 pm

              Yes, parodies and denigrating prefixes are the ones I specifically mentioned in my first reply. The 'level' comment was a personal one, with respect to inappropriateness in general (not to parodies and prefixes) explaining why I don't like the 'Drumpf' term either but if you'd rather argue that point, I'll withdraw my objection to people using the term.

              An ad hominem is an attack on the person making an argument in an attempt to undermine the argument itself. If you feel people are using the term that way, feel free to object about it to them. I haven't used it and I haven't seen anyone else use it in that way, so complaining to me about something I haven't done is meaningless.

              I wouldn't call Trump 'Orange Trump' or support that term, but it should be obvious that in terms of denigration, 'orange' is clearly not as disparaging as 'crooked' or 'lying'. I may well chastise someone for saying it, it would depend on the context.

              What is it exactly you're arguing for here? That "Killary" or "Juliar" or "mad abbott" are reasonable ways to refer to someone when you're making an argument that involves them? Do you also think "Micro$oft" and "Crapple" are pinnacles of wit and sophistication?

              Last edited 31/01/17 1:29 pm

                Lol, I don't know why I'm arguing really, slow news day I suppose.

                I don't find any of those monikers particularly offensive or witty, they succinctly convey the message that the writer believes a person to be a liar or a killer or crooked, they are supposed to be denigrating. If you feel that detracts from a persons argument, fair enough, you would prefer it not be there, I would prefer to use it to ascertain a persons bias.

                  Fair enough.

                  I'm much more inclined to listen to an argument that starts "Ted Cruz lied about..." than "Lyin' Ted...". And despite both being rather absurd, I'd still be more inclined to hear an argument "Hillary is responsible for deaths..." than "Killary...". It's not that it's super offensive, it just comes across really childish and makes me not really want to hear what else the person has to say.

                  It's not politically aligned either, I rather hated Tony Abbott but I balked at people calling him the "Mad Abbott", and I'd probably do the same if someone made an insulting spin on Trump's name somehow (can't think of one off the top of my head though, 'Con'ald? Donald Plump? That kind of thing). I guess I just see Drumpf as a nickname, it doesn't seem to have any innate insult embedded in it.


        Last edited 05/02/17 10:36 am

          Yeah, I can see how you in particular would find that idea funny.

          Last edited 06/02/17 9:06 am

            How so? I'm sorry I replied to the wrong comment and edited it so you didn't make fun of me and still you make fun of me...

              It seems I confused you for someone else I've sparred with before here who would be best described as completely tactless, such that the idea of decorum would probably seem amusing to them. My apologies.

              I don't mind you disagreeing with what I said of course, but you felt it was worth a downvote so I'm curious why. I take it you don't agree that keeping name-calling out of an argument helps keep the argument out of the gutter?

                Personal insults are supposed to be against community guidelines hence the downvote for the 'you of all people'


                  I meant your downvote to my original post above:

                  Make your point without parodying people's names or adding denigrating prefixes to them. You only undermine yourself by going for low blows.

    Maybe now they'll actually read the book and see how it has nothing to do with reality. God I hate that book. Not because it's a bad book, but because its themes are so often misinterpreted and too many idiots who have never actually read it keep trying to draw parallels with [thing I hate here].

    It's the "fascism" of the literary world.

    Note to self: Its a great book you should read it! instead of pretending that you have!

    Errrr ... all trolling aside ... it's trending because John Hurt (who played the lead character, Winston Smith, in the movie) died mid last week.

    Not that long of a bow to draw really.


      Actually, it's been #1 on the bestseller list since Inauguration Day.

      John Hurt might have been a factor in recent days, but there's obviously more to it than that.

    War is Peace (look at all our peacekeeping forces)
    Freedom is Slavery (wage slaves with mortgages)
    Ignorance is Strength (with enough numbers, the ignorant can crush an intellectual argument)

    Believe in 2 or more contradictory things at the same time (Muslims are safe / dangerous, Climate change is real / fake, 2+2 = 5 AND 4 )

    Oh, and everybody has to watch television.

    It's been a few years, those are the main points from memory.

    animal farm is probably the book the american public should be reading

      Definitely more apt to the current political climate ;)

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