Author Jenny Colgan said it was ” a bit like peering into the inside of your dog’s head ” and British journalist Bryony Gordon found it “about as sexy as a misery memoir and as arousing as the diary of a sex offender”. But no matter: the fans of EL James have chosen to decide for themselves – and have bought more than 1m copies of Grey, the latest in her Fifty Shades series, in the US alone.
Released last Thursday, Grey tells the story of the S&M-focused relationship between businessman Christian Grey and shy student Anastasia Steele from the perspective of Christian – something its British author, James, writes in her dedication that fans had “asked … and asked … and asked … and asked” for.
Early sales indications from America show she was right: according to Vintage, which released the book in the US on June 18, it has sold 1.1m copies to date across all editions – paperback, ebook and audiobook. Vintage publisher Anne Messitte told US trade magazine Publishers Weekly that the figure “speaks to the engagement and passion readers have for the Fifty Shades books”, adding: “Christian’s side of the story is proving to be irresistible.”
A spokesperson for publisher Arrow said the sales of Grey would be “record-breaking” for an adult book. The record for a first-week sale for an adult title is currently held by Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which was published in October 2009 and sold 551 000 copies in its first week.
James’s previous novels, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed – which tell the story of Christian and Ana’s relationship from her perspective – have sold more than 125m copies around the world to date. – © Guardian News & Media, 2015