Yes, yes, it’s another post about another sales record broken by Fifty Shades of Grey, but look: we’ll stop reporting on it just as soon as you convince people to stop buying it. Vintage has unleashed the Kraken here, and the second it can stuff it back into the depths (oo-er missus, etc.) from whence it came, we can all shut up about it, finally, and get on with our decidedly non-sexy day to day lives. Until that glorious day, however, we’re stuck with letting you know that the trilogy has now collectively outsold all seven Harry Potter books on Amazon UK, making EL James the biggest selling author in the site’s nearly-fourteen year history.
Since their April publication, the only books that several people you know have read since leaving uni have collectively sold more than four million copies across print and Kindle in the UK alone. That works out at, roughly, one million copies per month, 250,000 copies per week or 35,714 copies per day. Those figures mean that, on any given day since April, more people have ordered Fifty Shades of Grey from Amazon than live in Airdrie. And the population of Airdrie collectively discovering a taste for S&M day in, day out for four months is quite the terrifying prospect, I’m sure we can all agree.
Of course, by the time Amazon started selling books in the UK, the first two Harry Potter novels had already been published, and by the time it really became a market force that even your elderly relatives were ordering from, it’s fair to say that a large chunk of its audience for Harry Potter had taken their business elsewhere.
That said, Gordon Willoughby, EU director of Kindle who is sick of fielding questions about whether or not he’s related to Holly, foresees that ‘If JK Rowling was the literary phenomenon of the last decade, then EL James looks certain to take that mantle in the current decade.’ If that’s the case, really not looking forward to tasting the spin-off sweets.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.