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Thursday November 18 4:01 PM ET

Mein Stops Selling Mein Kampf to Germans

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Online retail pioneer Inc. said on Thursday it will stop selling Adolf Hitler's prison-penned manifesto "Mein Kampf" in Germany, citing German laws prohibiting sales of hate literature.

"We're not shipping it into Germany. It's still available at our Web site and can be shipped elsewhere," Amazon spokesman Bill Curry said.

The book's English version was among Amazon's most popular titles in Germany, prompting the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles to file legal complaints against Amazon and other Web-based book sellers in August.

"It's clear that the German-language version is banned in Germany. It's less clear about the English version and we thought that given that uncertainty the prudent thing was to stop shipping it into Germany," Curry added.

The Wiesenthal Center's Associate Dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, who had recently spoken with Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, issued a statement praising the decision.

"This is a significant victory for the ongoing efforts of German authorities to continue their struggle against any resurgence of Nazism," Cooper said.

Amazon rival Inc. will continue -- at least for the time being -- to ship the book, which Hitler wrote in prison several years before he led the Nazi party to power in 1933 and which contains repeated anti-Semitic tirades.

"Our position has not changed. Our attorneys are reviewing the German law. Until they are finished with that process, we won't make a decision," said Mary Ellen Keating, spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble Inc., which owns 40 percent of the Web site.

In August German media giant Bertelsmann AG, which also owns 40 percent of, recommended the Web site stop selling hate literature in Germany and pulled Mein Kampf from its own online book store. does not disclose data on individual book sales or provide country-by-country figures. But in September the Web site listed Mein Kampf as No.2 on its "uniquely best selling" list in Germany, suggesting the book is much more popular in Germany than among other Amazon customers.

Amazon sold $610 million worth of books in 1998 to buyers in 160 countries.

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