'Fifty Shades of Grey' Sets Kindle Sales Record

Nelson Ayala

NEW YORK — "Fifty Shades of Grey," first-time novelist E.L. James's erotic novel about a young billionaire’s sexual ownership over an inexperienced college coed, is now the first book to sell more than one million copies on Amazon's Kindle eReader.

Dubbed by the New York Times as “mommy porn” for its appeal to women over thirty, the book and its two sequels — "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed" — have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide (eBook and paperback combined).

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is also the fastest selling paperback since Nielsen BookScan began tracking book sales in 1998, selling out its initial 750,000 paperback run in less time than J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series and Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code."

Retail analysts are citing eReaders, such as the Kindle, as a major force behind the phenomenal success of James' trilogy. Unlike traditional hardcovers and paperbacks, these devices allow for discreet downloading and reading, sparing readers the embarrassment of unwanted glances and/or queries from curious strangers.

James, a former London TV executive and mother of two, originally posted her BDSM love story under the heading of “Master of the Universe” on FanFiction.net. An instant hit with readers, the novel was quickly picked up by Australian publisher Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House and retitled "Fifty Shades of Grey."

Random House imprint Vintage secured the English-language rights to the trilogy in March, paying James a reported $1 million. The publisher issued eBook versions of the trilogy that same month and released it on paperback in April.

James reportedly earned an additional $5 million after selling movie rights to her book to Focus Features/ Universal. She is now, according to NYDailyNews.com, said to be planning a new "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy written from the perspective of young billionaire and Dom Christian Grey, the novel's bad boy protagonist.