Why is Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ an e-book bestseller?
Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” has quietly become an e-book bestseller, climbing high on the charts of political books on Apple’s iTunes and Amazon’s Kindle, even as print sales of the 1925 anti-Semitic screed continue to languish.
“‘Mein Kampf” hasn’t made the New York Times’ nonfiction chart since its U.S. release in 1939, the same year Germany invaded Poland, and its print sales have fallen steadily ever since,” Chris Faraone wrote for the website Vocativ. “But with a flood of new e-book editions, Hitler’s notorious memoir just clocked a banner digital year.”
Two different digital versions of “Mein Kampf” currently rank third and fourth on the Politics & Current Events on iBooks, outpacing books by modern-day conservative pundits and celebrities such as Sarah Palin, Charles Krauthammer and Glenn Beck. The books sell for 99 cents and $2.99 respectively.
On Amazon, the Kindle version of “Mein Kampf” ranks No. 1 in the category of Propaganda and Political Philosophy.
Faraone compared the Hitler book surge to the sales of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” “These are things that people would be embarrassed to read otherwise,” Faraone told ABC News. “Books that people would probably be a bit more embarrassed to read or display or buy in public, they are more than willing to buy on their Kindle, or iPads.
California-based Elite Minds Inc. which publishes the 99-cent version, said that the sales were due primarily to “academic interest,” but Jewish leaders disputed that argument.
“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 Chief Executive 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.”
Hitler dictated “Mein Kampf” to Rudolf Hess while in prison following the failed 1923 Munich Putsch. The book made him rich in Germany during his lifetime and served as a recruiting tool for the Nazi Party as Hitler rose to power in 1933.
Love a good book?
Get the latest news, events and more from the Los Angeles Times Book Club, and help us get L.A. reading and talking.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.