You won’t see Adolf Hitler peering back at you from the featured display tables at Barnes & Noble any time soon. But browse the most popular e-book stores these days and Der Führer’s mug is seemingly unavoidable. For a year now, his magnum manifesto has loomed large over current best-sellers on iTunes, where at the time of this writing two different digital versions of Mein Kampf rank 12th and 15th on the Politics & Current Events chart alongside books by modern conservative powerhouses like Sarah Palin, Charles Krauthammer and Glenn Beck.
In fact, all seven of Beck’s books trail Herr Hitler’s nearly century-old tell-all, which consistently holds its own against new e-blockbusters likeGame Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, This Town by Mark Leibovich, and Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise.
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. But with a flood of new e-book editions, Hitler’s notorious memoir just clocked a banner digital year. One 2012 English-language version is currently the number onePropaganda & Political Psychology book on Amazon. Another digital selection is a player in the Globalization category.
Or to put it another way: On Amazon, there are more than 100 versions ofMein Kampf for sale in every conceivable print and audio format, from antique hardbacks to brand-new paperbacks. Of those 100 iterations, just six are e-books—yet all six of them rank among the 10 best-selling versions overall. And those are just the ones people are paying for.
If someone has an explanation, I'd like to hear it.
Yet more signs of societal decay? Or... simple curiousity?
I honestly don't know but would like to. I find it troubling either way.