So here’s big news from the publishing world. According to numerous reports, one of the biggest political books on iTunes and the top seller in Amazon’s propaganda and political psychology category is over 75 years old and wasn’t even originally written in English.
Can you guess what it is? That’s right: Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
Analysts find this shocking not because it’s so unusual to see a book on the best-seller list that’s not co-authored by James Patterson, but because this particular tome has not appeared on it since the first English edition was published in 1939.
Naturally, I went to Amazon to see what was second in the propaganda and political psychology category and found that it was a 1928 book called Propaganda, by Edward Bernays, who I think later went on to make a nice sauce. I guess there’s nothing like the classics when it comes to propaganda and political psychology. (In third place by the way, is Ty Bollinger’s Monumental Myths of the Modern Medical Mafia and Mainstream Media and the Multitude of Lying Liars That Manufactured Them, a more recent publication whose amazingly alliterative title Bollinger began typing in 1953.)
The resurgence in Mr. Hitler’s literary popularity has been attributed to the availability of Mein Kampf as an e-book, so fans no longer have to be seen purchasing it in stores or reading a hard copy on public transportation which no doubt is not nearly as punctual as they would like it to be.
The implication is that hordes of readers have been waiting all their lives for the chance to buy Hitler’s book without having to goose-step into the “Fascist” section of Barnes & Goebbels, or peruse it on the subway without having to hide it inside a Playboy magazine.
I have two questions for these people:
- Couldn’t you have read it at home?
- Do you realize that many, many, many more people–including the entire U.S. government–know about your e-book purchase than would have been aware of your reading habits if you’d bought it at the store with cash?
The conclusion I can’t help coming to is that it’s not the e-book availability per se that excites these Neo-Nazi numbskulls (redundant, I know), but the newfound ability to instantly look up big words. Also, with e-books, you don’t have to look at a book’s cover which, in this case, actually does tell you a lot about the contents. And, besides, it’s weird the way his eyes follow you around the room.
Of course, as a Jew, I find all of this quite bothersome. But, as a writer, I find it horrifying. I mean, how are new, promising talents supposed to break in with new propaganda and political psychology books when long-dead (we think) tyrants can rack up sales without even any promotional efforts?
And, not incidentally, who’s getting the royalties?
In Related News…
The Huffington Post reports that Google has apologized for going a bit retro with its map of Berlin.
Evidently, instead of giving a major street its proper name of Theodor-Heuss-Platz, it used the quaint World War II-era name of Adolf-Hitler-Platz, proving once again that, no matter who German streets are named after, they don’t exactly roll off the tongue. It makes me want to visit Germany just to listen to a GPS.
According to the article, Google says it’s not clear how the error occurred, but obviously there can be only one possible culprit: that Google Maps programmer with the odd mustache who always looks a tad guilty when he’s reading his Kindle.
See you soon.