George Orwell
A copy of George Orwell's 1984Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Public concern over the rise of "alternative facts" under US President Donald Trump has led to copies of George Orwell's 1984 selling out on Amazon.

The dystopian novel began its rise up sales charts last week when Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway used the term "alternative facts" to justify Press Secretary Sean Spicer spreading inaccurate facts about the crowd size at the inauguration.

Her words held a chilling resemblance to the stance adopted by the totalitarian regime in the book, who control public thought through Newspeak, a language designed to subtly influence the mindset and choices of its citizens.

Promoted by the Ministry of Truth – a department responsible for propaganda and revisionism – the language limits free thought to prevent "thought crimes".

Social media users and journalists quickly picked up on the similarities, creating a renewed spike in interest in the 1948 novel, a long-held staple of the school curriculum given its prophetic understanding of the surveillance state.

Now, the world's largest bookseller, Penguin has become unable to compete with demand, putting online retailer Amazon temporarily out of stock of its current best-selling read.

"We put through a 75,000 copy reprint this week. That is a substantial reprint and larger than our typical reprint for 1984," a Penguin spokesman told The New York Times.

The rise "started over the weekend and hit hyperactive." After Conway's comments went viral, attention on the book "kind of took a life of its own," he added.

According to Nielsen BookScan, 1984 sold 47,000 copies in print since election day in November. An increase in 30% on the previous year.

The current second bestselling book on Amazon is Tools of Titans: The Tactics, followed by Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers. In fourth place is J D Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, which The New York Times listed as one of six books to help understand Trump's win.

Orwell's classic novel experienced a similar spike in sales following the government surveillance revelations leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Kellyanne Conway
Counsellor to US President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway prepares to go on the air in front of the White House in Washington on 22 January 2017, where she would go on to make the 'alternative facts' remarkCarlos Barria/Reuters