Wednesday, March 27, 2013

70 Million Shades of Grey, Hooray!

"I know you want to scream in pleasure but we must keep you silenced!" Image source: Public

A recent article in has announced that Fifty Shades of Grey, having sold 70 million copies in 2012, half of them ebook sales) singlehandedly helped the Bertelsman group (the company that owns Random House) maintain overall group profit levels despite stagnant conditions in its TV, magazine, and music publishing businesses.

I'm very pleased that Fifty Shades has been so successful, it's my hope that it ushers in a whole new era of acceptance and enjoyment of kinky erotic romances, even if some publishers are trying to prevent that. But is a lot more conflicted on the topic of Fifty Shades. On the one hand, they probably understand that many of their readers bought and enjoyed Fifty Shades. On the other hand, a lot of their readers, either because they are antisex gender feminists who hate any depiction of maledom/femsub anything, or are lit-crit types who can't tolerate sexy romances and the slutty women who read them, absolutely HATE Fifty Shades of Grey.

That's why I love the article, because short as it is it almost explodes with the tension between happily reporting Fifty Shades' success, and snarking the hell out of its success. The article has snark going in opposite directions. On the one hand, it describes Fifty Shades of Grey as "E.L. James' cult sadomasochistic masterwork" implying it's a cultish porn novel (that Somehow sold 70 million copies). But it also takes a slam at the lit-crit crowd, pointing out that Fifty Shades' high level of ebook sales may be because unlike other books, it invites "the book-shaming eyerolls of MFA-holding Barnes & Noble cashiers."

A nice commentary on our economy, the value of a Master of Fine Arts degree, and the probable status of the lit-crit crowd's louder voices.

A very tasty bit of writing, very revealing to the discerning eye. Enjoy!


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