Next time you’re at Costco, you can pick up a jumbo bag of Cheetos with a copy of “1984.” Doubleplus good! The discount store is now stocking Orwell’s classic novel along with its usual selection of current bestsellers. Much has been made of the soaring sales of “1984” since the inauguration. Last month, amid talk of “alternative facts” from the Trump administration, Signet Classics announced that it had reprinted 500,000 copies, about twice the novel’s total sales in 2016. Now, with Costco on board, Big Brother is guaranteed to get even bigger. The retailer offers only a small selection of books, but with tens of millions of members (what we used to call “customers”), the store is a major force in publishing. Appropriately, Costco is offering a reprint of the 2003 edition of “1984,” which has a foreword by Thomas Pynchon. That reclusive satirist must love the idea of hawking Orwell’s dystopian novel alongside towers of discounted toilet paper and radial tires. SHOPPING IS SAVING.
Ron Charles is the editor of Book World.