Amazon’s audiobook of the Mueller report has an Orwellian price tag of $19.84

  • Written by MarketWatch
  • Published in Economics

Publishers are hoping that the Mueller report is going to be a mass market and, perhaps, salacious read. So, it seems, does Amazon founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos.

Robert Mueller, special counsel to the U.S. Department of Justice, spent two years researching and writing the report, entitled “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.” The world has been eagerly awaiting his findings.

The report was released at 11 a.m. Thursday. Attorney General William Barr delivered the report with “limited redactions” to heads of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. Amazon’s Audible unit will sell one audio version of the book “presented with related materials by the Washington Post” for $19.84,[1] a discounted price from $28.34 for Audible members.

That pointed price tag appears to be a reference to George Orwell’s seminal novel, “1984,” a dystopian tale that introduced the world to terms like “doublespeak,” which became shorthand for the coded language of authoritarian governments.

Amazon’s Audible unit will sell one version of the book for $19.84 or one credit for Audible members. That pointed price tag appears to be a reference to George Orwell’s seminal novel, ‘1984.’

The Post’s edition of the Mueller Report comes with “exclusive analysis[2] by the Pulitzer Prize-winning staff of The Washington Post,” and an introduction entitled “A President, a Prosecutor, and the Protection of American Democracy.” It’s one of several versions of the Mueller report available for pre-order on Amazon. The one listed as the best seller as of Thursday was a $7.99 Kindle edition with an introduction by famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

So was the $19.84 price tag an intentional jab at Trump? “That’s pure coincidence,” Lauren Pires, assistant director of marketing and publicity at Simon & Schuster Audio, a division of CBS Corp. CBS, -0.11%[3] which is producing the audiobook, told MarketWatch. (A spokeswoman for The Washington Post said the paper has no role in the pricing.)

The themes from Orwell’s “1984” still echo. Audible touts the Mueller report as essential reading “about the fate of the presidency and the future of our democracy.” Trump has repeatedly called the mainstream press “fake news.” Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million.

The Mueller Report in paperback form is already a No. 1 pre-order best seller in Amazon’s AMZN, +0.05%[5] “nationalism” and “history & theory of politics” sections. Barnes & Noble BKS, -0.84%[6] ...

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