Economic Crisis Pushes People to Buy Ayn Rand Novel

In the wake of global economic downturn, sales on Ayn Rand's classic libertarian apocalypse novel Atlas Shrugged took a marked jump on Amazon over the past few weeks.

According to the UK Guardian:

As of yesterday, the book's 30-day average rank on the website was 110, far above its average rank of 542 over the last two years. On 13 January it even briefly outperformed Barack Obama's wildly popular work The Audacity of Hope. Yesterday it was in 55th place, between The Reader and a book on cultivating very small gardens.

The Guardian got this information from TitleZ, a site that tracks popularity on Amazon.

Atlas Shrugged is possibly Rand's most famous novel, and recently was credited with inspiring the videogame Bioshock. When the world's economy begins to circle the drain, a group of industrialists and geniuses retreat into a remote mountain hideaway, using a scientific McGuffin to drain energy out of static electricity. Without the rugged individualist capitalist types participating in society, the world falls deeper into dystopian bureaucracy and finally the people demand that their evil collectivist leaders be ousted in favor of John Galt, the leader of the techno-industrialist enclave.

It's actually a perfect novel for sour capitalists to be reading as Barack Obama takes the reigns in the US and hints that the banks are soon to be nationalized, and government social programs expanded.

As the Guardian notes:

The book's peak sales days on Amazon seem to correspond to major events in the attempted rescue of the economy, including the bailout of Northern Rock, the US decision to buy shares in nine major banks, and the passing of Obama's stimulus bill. The Ayn Rand Centre for Individual Rights claims that US-wide sales almost tripled over the first seven weeks of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008.

via UK Guardian