Sunday 4 December 2016

It's not just about the sex, it's the money and power too

Lorraine Courtney

Published 30/06/2015 | 02:30

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson

Yes, I know it prompted 50 shades of dreadful copycats and parodies, not to mention 50 shades of punning headlines, meaning we should be well and truly sick of it by now. It also launched a billion finger-wagging pieces from both ends of the political spectrum about how the books glorify abuse and cultivate a rape culture. But you just can't ignore its popularity and it seems we Irish still haven't reached peak 'Fifty Shades' yet.

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Irish readers have bought almost half a million copies of EL James's books over the past four years. New figures from Nielsen Book Research reveal that readers here have bought 458,995 copies from the series, generating a cool €5.26m for the author. The endlessly harped-upon film adaptation smashed Irish box office records earlier this year, generating €3m in ticket sales. Interest in the series shows no sign of abating either, with the latest instalment, 'Grey', selling 8,164 in its first week, almost double the rest of the top 10 best-selling books combined.

The first week of sales was enough to already push it into third position in the list of highest-selling books in Ireland so far this year. But what's the appeal? It wasn't like erotic fiction or satisfyingly filthy online stories haven't long been available to us all.

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