The publishers Secker and Warburg were yesterday caught out as demand exceeded supply for copies of George Orwell's novel Animal Farm on the 50th anniversary of its publication.
Secker and Warburg had decided to celebrate the event by issuing a special edition on the satire on communism, illustrated by the cartoonist, Ralph Steadman.
But yesterday officials at Dillons' flagship book store in Gower Street, central London, admitted that the store had sold out of the book two weeks ago, while Waterstones in Notting Hill Gate, west London, was down to three copies. Its sister store in Kensington High Street, was down to four copies out of the 30 which came in 12 days ago.The book is now reprinting for a second edition, which will not be available until early September.
Today's anniversary marks 50 years since Animal Farm came into print. The novel's allegory farmyard revolt depicts Stalin as a bullying boar, Napoleon, and Trotsky as his idealistic rival, Snowball.
Famously, the poet TS Elliot at Faber and Faber, turned the manuscript down when he was offered it by George Orwell in 1944, questioning whether "this is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the present time".
But when Secker and Warburg published it the following year its reception was rapturous.Reuse content