Until now, the state of Bavaria has used its copyright over the book to prevent it from appearing.
That copyright is finally set to expire in 2015, 70 years after Hitler’s death. According to the BBC, Bavaria is publishing the work before the expiration date in order to “demystify” it and make it commercially unattractive for private publishers.
The book, which translates as “My Struggle”, combines biography with a description of Hitler’s emerging ideology. The book has been frequently described as boring and unreadable.
The book is not illegal in Germany but is effectively unavailable because of the Bavarian copyright. It has long been available in other countries. Amazon (s AMZN) has a dozen editions of Mein Kampf for sale.
Bavaria’s decision to publish not only raises questions about public policy but also about the practicality of banning books in the digital age.
While school districts in America have often tried to ban works like Catcher in the Rye, such books are now in easy reach of anyone with a keyboard or an e-reader.