Shades of Grey – Sales and Censorship


Over the last six weeks the controversial book, Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James has sold a phenomenal ten million copies. Anthony Chirico of Knopf Doubleday said of the sales: “This is an astonishing number. The sales velocity for Fifty Shades of Grey is unprecedented, with reader demand still growing. BookScan data indicates that the trilogy has captured twenty-five percent of the adult fiction market in recent weeks.”

While sales are huge, so is the controversy. Several libraries have either pulled the book from their shelves or have simply refused to purchase the book. The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has come out against the library policy and in a statment, executive director Joan Bertin said: “The vast majority of cases that we deal with have to do with removing books to keep kids from seeing them … in the case of adults, other than the restrictions on obscenity and child pornography, there’s simply no excuse. This is really very much against the norms in the profession.”

The NCAC has created a petition criticizing the Brevard County Library in Florida which yanked the book. The NCAC says that Fifty Shades of Grey is “comparable to Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Fear of Flying” in it’s content. Here’s an excerpt: “The very act of rejecting erotica as a category suitable for public libraries sends an unmistakable message of condemnation that is moralistic in tone, and totally inappropriate in a public institution dedicated to serving the needs and interests of all members of the community.”

You can read the entire letter in it’s entirely here.