Readers downloading Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ are like consumers of cheap smut, researchers have suggested.

The Nazi leader’s 1923 manifesto remains top of e-book bestseller lists because curious purchasers use the anonymity of online reading to disguise the nature of the content, much as they would for soft porn novels like Fifty Shades of Grey.

That is the argument being put forward by acclaimed author Chris Faraone, who has recently written about the Occupy movement and the Boston Marathon bombings.

“Mein Kampf could be following a similar trend to that of smut and romance novels,” he said. “They can be quietly perused then dropped into a folder or deleted.”

Mein Kampf, meaning my struggle, was dictated by Hitler to his deputy Rudolph Hess whilst in prison. In it he outlines a world Jewish conspiracy but also blames his ideological rivals, the Marxists, for Germany’s distress.

Decades later, the book has long since been written off as the delusional rant of a madman, yet it remains top of the iTunes and Amazon bestseller lists.