Adolf Hitler’s fascist manifesto Mein Kampf has shot to the top of ebook bestsellers charts – reportedly “following a similar trend” to that of 50 Shades of Grey and other romance novels.
According to the political author and journalist Chris Faraone, while the controversial book’s print sales have remained minimal for many years, its various eBook versions consistently appear in politics, history and philosophy “Top 20” lists for retailers like Amazon or iTunes.
Just one of these digital editions on Amazon’s UK site ranks at number four in the History – Reference section, number six in the German history section and number 20 for Second World War biographies and memoirs.
Faraone, who writes for The Phoenix in Boston and has published a number of books about the Occupy movement, said in an essay on the subject that “Mein Kampf could be following a similar trend to that of smut and romance novels.”
“People might not have wanted to buy Mein Kampf at Borders or have it delivered to their home or displayed on their living room bookshelf, let alone get spotted reading it on a subway,” he explained.
“But judging by hundreds of customer comments online, readers like that digital copies can be quietly perused then dropped into a folder or deleted.”
The same characteristics – and comments from readers – can be seen with 50 Shades and other romance fiction, Faraone said.
According to research from the Romance Writers of America association, “romance buyers are buying e-books to a greater extent when compared with other major fiction subgenres”.
Faraone wrote that Mein Kampf’s recent resurgence came from the release of a 99 cent digital version last year. He quoted the President of publisher Elite Minds Inc., Michael Ford, as saying: “Sales are great.”
One buyer of a different edition on Amazon said: “People need to understand that if we do not learn from people like this, then we will fall into their traps again.”
Yet Mr Ford said he faced “a moral dilemma in promotion” over fears the book “could be misused”. He added: “I have not heavily promoted the book and decided, for the most part, to let it spread among those who have a true historical and academic interest.”