No, 1984 is Not Out of Stock on Amazon

I’m sure you’ve seen the social media status updates or read a headline today that George Orwell’s seminal book, 1984, is out of stock on Amazon.

Alas, those headlines are clickbait, and the reality is that there are plenty of copies available – and not just digitally.

Here’s what io9 reported:

George Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984 occupied the number one spot on Amazon’s best-selling books list yesterday, 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.

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.

Leaving aside the obvious fact that the Kindle edition is never out of stock, the problem with this story is that you can find over six hundred different copies of 1984 from several hundred sellers (this includes the hardback, paperback, and mass market.

Check out the screenshot below:

To be fair, some of those sellers are playing a game of arbitrage and are selling something they don’t yet own, but that doesn’t apply to all the sellers.

This title is for sale on Amazon, and it can be bought. So no, it is not “out of stock” or “sold out” on Amazon.


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Frank26 January, 2017

    The clickbait “Amazon Sells Out of 1984 as America Decides to Read a Goddamn Book for Once” is accurate if you consider “Amazon” to only include Amazon, LLC, and stock to be only paper books, while not including the third parties sellers on the website. It depends on your point of view.

  2. poiboy26 January, 2017
  3. […] ce qui permet à des dizaines d’éditeurs de proposer leur édition de ce chef d’œuvre. (source) Il ne sera dans le domaine publique américain qu’en 2044 mais il est bien sûr toujours […]

  4. DaveMich29 January, 2017

    1984 is not the book to read. “It Can’t Happen Here”, by Sinclair Lewis, and “Christian Nation” by Frederic Rich – those are the books to read.

    1. poiboy30 January, 2017

      have you read “We” by Yevgeny Zamyatin?.. which many believe Orwell based 1984 from.


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