ONE of the biggest publishers in the world is jumping on the Fifty Shades of Grey bandwagon with a Do-It-Yourself guide to sadomasochism at home. And the spanking new book is coming to bookshops across Ireland in the next few weeks.
HarperCollins, which publishes leading Irish authors like Cecelia Ahern, is behind the new beginner's guide to sadomasochism for ordinary couples. The publisher says the book will help readers live out their Fifty Shades fantasies.
The 160-page book, titled Fifty Ways to Play, was published as a Kindle ebook on Thursday, available through Amazon at £1.99. The paperback version will be published in Britain on August 16 at £6.99 and, according to the HarperCollins publicity director in Ireland, Moira Reilly, will be widely available here. It will be stocked in Easons and other bookstores across the country, priced at €9.25.
Written by American husband and wife team Debra and Don Macleod, the book is subtitled BDSM for Nice People and is already a bestseller in the US. The explicit content is made up of 50 short chapters offering a range of BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism) ideas for spicing up sex lives.
Anna Valentine of HarperCollins in the UK said last week: "If you've read all about Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in the bedroom, and want a piece of the action for yourself, then this is the book for you."
Fifty Shades of Grey is now in its 13th week at the top of the Irish bestseller chart and has sold millions of copies around the world, including 20 million in the US and three million in the UK and Ireland.
The 'Mommy Porn' phenomenon started by London housewife and Fifty Shades author EL James has all the big publishers racing to find similar erotic titles, especially stories focusing on dominant/submissive relationships featuring cuffs and whips.
But HarperCollins appears to be the first major publisher to offer a Fifty Shades-inspired instruction manual. Advance publicity claims that "with this simple and accessible guide to BDSM you can turn every night into an erotic fantasy. That's the Fifty Shades of Grey philosophy and if you, like millions of other readers around the world, are ready to unlock your sex life and discover new heights of pleasure, Fifty Ways to Play is the key".
The book tells couples how to create a Christian Grey-style 'Red Room of Pain' to explore the fine art of Japanese rope bondage, among other edgy and erotic adventures. A wide variety of scenarios and sex aids is covered from nipple clamps, electro-stimulation, blindfolds, sensory deprivation and restraints to the softer side of BDSM including lubricants (one kind heats up and another cools down).
The 50 chapter headings include Erotic Spanking, Hold Me Down, Suspended Sex, Feel The Burn, What Should I Wear, Crotch Ropes and Bondage Positions.
Chapter 50, perhaps understandably, is titled Aftercare.
Even prestigious publishing houses are getting in on the Mommy Porn act.
Penguin last week claimed to have found the "next Fifty Shades" with a book titled Bared To You. Pan Macmillan is publishing Jane Eyre Laid Bare. Hodder & Stoughton has acquired a new erotica trilogy, Fire After Dark, described by the publishers as taking readers "to a place where love and sex are liberated from their limits".
Major on-line publisher Total-E-Bound is bringing out The Clandestine Classics, which will keep the original prose but add erotic scenes into novels like Pride and Prejudice, Dracula, Treasure Island and Wuthering Heights.
But the HarperCollins decision to publish the Fifty Ways To Play bondage guide, aimed at the millions of women who have read Fifty Shades, is a step further. One wit suggested last week that the new bondage guide should have been titled Fifty Ways to Bruise Your Lover.
It all seems a very long way from the days when we were famous for banning "dirty" books by really filthy writers like James Joyce, Edna O'Brien and John McGahern. Now bookshops across Holy Catholic Ireland are piled high with stacks of Fifty Shades, which will soon be joined by stacks of Fifty Ways to Play.
It's almost enough to make you nostalgic for the days of the censor.