Having sparked controversy throughout the world with its risqué content and having even been banned by a library in Florida, EL James’ 50 Shades of Grey arrived in County Leitrim earlier this year with slightly less fanfair but with just as much interest.
The three book series, based around the story of a relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and businessman Christian Grey, ‘50 Shades’ has become a best-selling book across the globe as well as enjoying massive selling figures in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. Despite being bashed across the board for its lacklustre writing and uninteresting story line, the book has raced to the top of the charts in several countries, selling over 40 million copies worldwide. This trend seems to have continued in Leitrim as book stores and libraries have reported massive interest in the steamy trilogy.
The Reading Room on Bridge Street in Carrick-on-Shannon have reported interest in the book as “tremendous”. “People are curious about the book”, says bookseller Orla. “The publicity the book has been exposed to has got people interested and it’s the same here in Carrick. Sales have been steady and even a few men have come in to buy the book for their partners.” Orla has given the book a read herself but like many bookworms has found the book disappointing and has been disillusioned by the quality of writing. She commented: “I didn’t enjoy it to be honest. It is poorly written and only really has two characters which became uninteresting.”
The County Library has also seen enthusiasm toward the book rise over recent months. “We’ve had a lot of interest in the book”, says Gabrielle Flynn, acting County Librarian at Leitrim County Library in Ballinamore. Having sold six times more electronic book (e-book) copies than physical copies, Gabrielle believes the dawn of e-books makes it easier for those with a more apprehensive disposition to purchase more controversial readings such as 50 Shades. “A lot of people are downloading the book through Kindles and other electronic formats instead of coming into libraries and shops and buying the actual book. I guess there are a few people who are maybe a little nervous about being seen buying 50 Shades.”
Mulvey’s Bookshop on Main Street in Carrick has reported record sales of the erotic novel. The book has even outsold previous best-seller Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. Evelyn Bannon, Book Buyer at Mulvey’s told the Leitrim Observer that such was the demand for the book, they could not keep it in stock. “The book was our best seller since the Da Vinci Code almost ten years ago. We ordered it in its hundreds but we just couldn’t keep it in on the shelves especially at its peak in late June/early August.”
No matter what your opinion towards the book is, it seems its success knows no bounds as plans are currently underway to turn the story into a big screen Hollywood hit. Meanwhile, a soundtrack containing music inspired by the book is due to be released shortly.