Wednesday, May 23, 2012

50 Shades of Gray Tops Ten Million In Sales ... And More!

The tsunami just keeps on coming -- and continues to change the game. Image source: Sex and

Time for another 50 Shades of Gray update, spurred by a bit of astonishing news. Vintage books has announced that "50 Shades of Gray" has hit the 10 million mark in sales.

I don't know if I've ever seen the number ten million associated with ANYTHING having to do with bondage. And a large portion of the sales are probably to people who are new readers of bondage erotica. It's an incredible number, and Vintage Books thinks it will only get larger as the summer reading season commences, and I think they're right. I have now idea HOW it's gonna change the game, but I'm pretty sure it will.

If you want to really understand the nuts and bolts of how "50 Shades of Gray" morphed from a Twilight fanfic to a bestseller now estimated to account for 25% of the adult fiction market (by Vintage Books, granted) you can't do better than read the analysis at the Obsidian Wings website. They've just put out a new section, which shows exactly how volunteer Twilight fanfic fans helped edit James' prose into something a little more readable than what she first produced as a fan writer. There's also some explanation of the difference between the gift economy of the Twilight fanfic community and the winner-take-all game that is modern publishing that's very thought-provoking. I've read an AWFUL lot of crappy articles about the success of "50 Shades of Gray" as I've followed the phenomenon in the media, and the Obsidian Wings analysis is by FAR the most informative and insightful I've seen.

Finally, adult industry retailers are saying that sales of ben-wa balls, used in a couple of scenes in the book, have shown a NOTICEABLE increase since the book came out according to a report on the TMZ website (the headline on the story is very clever!). TMZ also reports that an adult toy company called "The Fun Factory" has sent a letter to Vintage Books thanking the publisher for the increase in sales of the balls by 300 percent in the last month. (What? ONLY 300 percent?) Remember that report from USA Today that American bedrooms were not gonna get all kinky? WRONG!

It just keeps getting funnier and funnier ...

How did 50 Shades of Gray succeed so completely? Well, goodness had NOTHING to do with it! Image source: Sex and

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