Books

New E-Book Bestseller: Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'

What does it mean that the Nazi mastermind is topping the non-fiction charts?

One book you’re not likely to find on the year-end “Best Of” lists is, strangely, one of the year’s best selling—Adolf Hitler’s political manifesto, “Mein Kampf,” which saw a surge in sales thanks to its recent release as a downloadable e-book, reports ABC News Business.

Sales of the anti-Semitic text had been stagnant in print form, but as of Wednesday January 8, two electronic versions of “Mein Kampf” ranked both 12th and 15th on the Politics and Current events section of the iTunes book store, perhaps lending credence to theory that siri is a closeted anti-semite. 

Journalist Christ Faraone spotted the trend first, and chalks up the sudden surge in sales to the relative veil of anonymity afforded by buying books online as opposed to in person, in print and in public.

“These are things that people would be embarrassed to read otherwise,” Faraone told ABC. “Books that people would probably be a bit more embarrassed to read or display or buy in public, they are more willing to buy on their Kindle or iPads.”

Faraone likens this trend to the erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which sparked a phenomenon in 2012 when it became the first book  to sell more than 1 million copies on Amazon’s Kindle e-reader alone. For Faraone, “Fifty Shades” is similar to "Mein Kampf" in that both are too embarrassing to read in public.

Many Jewish leaders have, however, expressed alarm over companies profiting from a sudden surge in sales of the Hitler's tome. The implication of the product, they argue, is not worth the profit.

“While the academic study of ‘Mein Kampf’ is certainly legitimate, the spike in ebook sales likely comes from neo-Nazis and skinheads idolizing the greatest monster in history,” World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer told ABC News in a statement. “We think that responsible companies shouldn’t profiteer from the sales of hate books, or at least should donate the profits to help the victims of anti-Semitism, racism and other like bigotries.”

Many, Faraone included, seem quick to combat the claim that the surge in sales is due exclusively to extremists. Elite Minds INC., which publishes the best-selling $0.99 version of the book that landed it on the iTunes list, told ABC News that the company believes that the popularity of the new translation comes from a surge in academic interest in the subject. 

Recently, the German state of Bavaria, which owns the copyright to the book, nixed plans to release an annotated version of the text out of concern that it may offend victims. 

Rod Bastanmehr is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @rodb.

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