Random House earned record profits last year, thanks mainly to the scandalous Fifty Shades of Grey series. Between March and December, the trilogy sold 70 million units, which includes print copies, audiobooks, and e-books sold in English, Spanish, and German.
In comparison, The Wall Street Journal reports, Gillian Flynn’s thriller Gone Girl, which has dominated bestseller lists since it was released last June, has sold just 2 million copies in the United States and Canada so far.
Shocked? Not likely. We’ve all heard the talk show hosts, if not some in our own circle of friends, raving about Grey’s “mommy porn.” But it’s possible a large percentage of the series’ readers are keeping quiet about their book purchases.
According to The Guardian, e-book sales of the trilogy account for 50 percent of total revenue, while 20 percent is typically more in line for other titles. Could it be that many women prefer to discreetly download a copy to their tablet so their friends, their husband, their Bible study group, or the bookstore cashier won’t know they’re partaking of this “forbidden fruit”?
Pastor Rodney Hobbs of Midlothian, Texas, believes that’s possible.
“There is a sense in which it should be hard for anyone to watch or read pornography,” he said. “Part of being made in the image of God and of being created with a conscience means that there is an internal alarm that sounds in that seductive moment. This is one of the reasons that pornography—of every shade—is most easily experienced alone, where no one else sees or feels the alarm.”