Shooting Up the Sales Chart: Mein Kampf?

Writer thinks online anonymity, curiosity, driving Hitler's e-book sales
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2014 2:30 PM CST
Shooting Up the Sales Chart: Mein Kampf ?
A screenshot of the iTunes ebook store's politics and current event section, taken Jan. 9, 2014.   (iTunes)

If you look at the politics and current events section on iTunes' book store you will, as of this writing, see Hitler's face staring back at you out of the 3 and 4 spots. Mein Kampf has been a nothing short of an e-book blockbuster, on both iTunes and Amazon, even though the physical edition is a rarity that hasn't made the New York Times bestseller list since its US release in 1939. The phenomenon isn't exactly new, but it's getting talked about thanks to an in-depth post from Chris Faraone at Vocativ.

Faraone's theory is that Hitler's polemic is benefiting from what he terms the "50 Shades phenomenon." People might not want to be caught reading 50 Shades of Grey on the subway, or buying it in person, he reasons, but they're curious about the content—which is why the Romance Writers of America says its genre sells a disproportionate number of eBooks. User reviews suggest similar motives are at work for Hitler readers. That may make sense, but Jewish leaders are concerned. "While the academic study of Mein Kampf is certainly legitimate," the head of the World Jewish Congress tells ABC, "we think that responsible companies shouldn't profiteer from the sales of hate books." (More e-books stories.)

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