Trendwatch: Hitler’s Rising Popularity
Booksellers told The Daily Telegraph that while it is regarded in most countries as a ‘Nazi Bible’, in India it is considered a management guide in the mould of Spencer Johnson’s “Who Moved My Cheese”.
Sales of the book over the last six months topped 10,000 in New Delhi alone, according to leading stores, who said it appeared to be becoming more popular with every year.
Several said the surge in sales was due to demand from students who see it as a self-improvement and management strategy guide for aspiring business leaders, and who were happy to cite it as an inspiration. [Telegraph]
Did you notice something? “Booksellers told”, “according to leading stores”, and “several said”. Where are the authentic sources?
The report does quote two of the six publishers who publish Mein Kampf in India, but no retailers are quoted. Nor are any students who have actually purchased the book. While trying to explain the “trend”, a professor of Philosophy from a university in Nagaland is quoted (who seems to have a political thesis to push) but no professors from business schools are quoted even though their students are the ones who are reportedly causing the apparent “surge in sales”. There aren’t any quotes from professors based in New Delhi either, where more than 10,000 copies of the book were sold in 6 months last year (no publisher would inflate sales numbers for one of its own books, right?).
So there you have it: no quotes from booksellers, no quotes from book-buyers, no quotes from relevant professors, and no authentic data either. Even the anecdotal evidence is unsatisfactory.
This is not to say that the book doesn’t do well in India. I have seen copies on pavement stalls in Delhi for as long as I can remember. Never noticed it in a “leading” store though. If we were to go by shaky anecdotal evidence alone, since that seems to be the standard employed by Telegraph, then the book has always been mildly successful in India: those pavement sellers can’t afford to stock books that don’t do well, can they?
The Overlord Verdict: Fake Trend. There is probably no real “surge” in sales, and the book is not read widely either. In fact, I am yet to meet anyone who claims to have read it, leave alone find it inspiring (this is not to say that such people don’t exist, just that I am yet to run into one). Don’t buy the book, read its Wikipedia entry instead (if you are really curious).