These libraries are probably doing the author a favor, as all this publicity will undoubtedly increase sales.
The list of places where the national bestseller Fifty Shades Of Grey has been banned continues to grow as administrators express concern about the raunchy content.
Libraries in Wisconsin and Georgia are following the lead set by Florida after 17 outposts deemed the book ‘semi-pornographic’.
Fifty Shades of Grey, the first novel in an erotic fiction trilogy by new British writer EL James, has been removed from library shelves in four Florida counties, one Georgia county outside of Atlanta, and Gwinnett County, Georgia, as well as certain libraries
‘It’s quite simple, it doesn’t meet our selection criteria,’ said Cathy Schweinsberg, the library services director in Brevard County speaking to the Palm Beach Post.
Despite this, requests for the book have stormed the libraries with a few copies still checked out to patrons – with the staff eagerly awaiting their return, according to county spokesman Don Walker speaking to the York Daily News
‘Nobody asked us to take it off the shelves, but we bought some copies before we realized what it was. We looked at it, because it’s been called “mommy porn” and “soft porn.” We don’t collect porn,’ Mrs Schweinsberg said.
Written for mature audiences, as its jacket describes, the novel follows a steamy relationship between a described naive college student – and initial virgin – named Anastasia Steele and a young, successful entrepreneur named Christian Grey whom she finds ‘beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating.
‘”I’d like to bite that lip,” he whispers darkly. … Jeez, I’m a quivering, moist mess, and he hasn’t even touched me. I squirm in my seat and meet his dark glare,’ one passage in the book reads.
Other books available in the libraries, despite their own famous controversies, are Lolita, The Complete Karma Sutra, and Tropic of Cancer – just to name a few.
The Fifty Shades trilogy took a non-traditional route to its paperback form: the author self-published in e-reader form, and many people felt comfortable reading it on tablets because those devices kept the novel mostly private, unlike a hardcover book.
It was also published by a small press in print-on-demand trade paperback editions.
Because of the books e-popularity, Vintage Books, a division of Random House Inc., acquired the rights and published them April 3.
So far, the books have sold 3 million copies in all formats, the publisher said, though it wasn’t clear how many were in paperback.
According to the Palm Beach Post, while the books can no longer be found on the Brevard County’s website, the libraries do offer copies of ‘The Complete Karma Sutra,’ and other famously controversial books like ‘Tropic of Cancer,’ and ‘Lolita,’ a 1955 novel about a man who falls in love with and attempts to seduce a 12-year-old girl.
Asked the difference between those books and Fifty Shades of Grey, Mrs Schweinsberg called the others classics, reasoning: ‘I think because those other books were written years ago and became classics, because of the quality of the writing,’ she said.
‘This is not a classic,’ she said of EL James’ book.
Library collections should be diverse, the American Library Association said, but should also reflect what people want to read. And decisions on what to buy shouldn’t be based on content alone – budgetary constraints, shelf space and bad reviews all come into play.
A book’s provenance also can make a difference. Some libraries have policies against acquiring self-published books or books published by non-traditional means.
The ban in Brevard County gained the most notoriety because it was the first to do so, though now there are others leaning towards that decision.
The controversy has not upset sales, as Fifty Shades of Grey knocked The Hunger Games off first place for USA Today’s top seller list after a 16 week reign.
Currently in second place on USA Today’s list is the sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, with the third, Fifty Shades Freed, at number four.
More stories about Fifty Shades Of Grey
[Video] Author E.L. James was in Farmingdale, NY today [05.07] signing copies of her erotic book at Carlyle on the Green. Women are saying the book has awakened a fire and they are really excited. In Cocoa Beach Library in Florida the book has been banned from the library citing that it is pornography. E. L. James, author is extremely shy and tries hard to avoid the press.