George Orwell’s 1984, as well as other novels envisioning a dystopian future, have made their way to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list since the election of Donald Trump. In Eugene, readers are supporting their local bookstores and pumping up the sales of political books as well.
Bruce Lundy, team leader for the bookstore portion of the University of Oregon’s Duck Store, says that during the election more political titles than usual were being picked up. “Especially funny Trump books like Trumpisms, Quotations from Chairman Trump, Trump Coloring Book, Yuge! 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump,” Lundy says, “but also other titles like Maureen Dowd’s The Year of Voting Dangerously, and some of the more serious books about the election.”
After the election, the Duck Store had a major decline in the sale of these books, he adds. “Perhaps people now want to read about anything but politics.”
At Black Sun Books in south Eugene, the story is similar to what’s happening at Amazon. Peter Ogura says that in addition to Orwell’s 1984, Jane Mayer’s Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right is “flying out the door.”
Ogura adds, “Books by Noam Chomsky are also being sold, sales of which lagged during the Obama years.” Chomsky, a linguist, is also known for his work as an activist and social critic.
J. Michaels downtown has seen a similar post-election pattern. But, owner Jeremy Nissel says, the difference between Amazon and J. Michaels is that, while shopping juggernaut Amazon can stock thousands of copies of a book like 1984, local bookstores cannot.
Also, Nissel says, while everyone is certainly focused on Donald Trump, shoppers at J. Michaels are still “feeling the Bern” with copies of Bernie Sander’s Our Revolution still coming off the shelves.
“We are selling books that give people positive ideas on how to combat the current administration,” Nissel says, pointing to What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump’s America, a collection of essays by authors including Sanders and Democratic darling Elizabeth Warren.
Scott Landfield, owner of Tsunami Books on Willamette Street, says the locally owned bookstore has been selling a lot more books in general since Trump’s election.
However, Landfield says that he is too busy fundraising to talk about Trump. Tsunami Books is facing financial difficulties regarding its lease and is asking for community support to be able to keep the more than 20-year-old bookstore and performance space in business. You can pledge your support at tsunamibooks.org/support.