Some people argue that Fifty Shades of Grey thanks it succes to the rise of eBooks and e-readers. But it’s actually the other way around. How Fifty Shades made eBooks more popular.
The eBook succes of Fifty Shades
EBooks are still a relatively new thing. Before, success in this platform was considered more or less a bonus. But with Fifty Shades of Grey, the value of the electronic book became apparent. Fifty Shades of Grey was the first eBook in the United Kingdom to sell more than one million copies. Timing was crucial in this case. For aspiring authors, eBooks are the perfect alternative to expensive printed versions of their work. Just as both publishers and readers started to become aware of this, Fifty Shades appeared.
The works of E.L. James also happened to be just right for the medium. E-readers offer a discrete wrapping for material that many people would rather not be seen reading in public. It is no coincidence that out of all categories, writers in the erotic category were among the first to jump into the eBook market. Fifty Shades emerged as the most famous success, as we all know.
The big winner of Fifty Shades eBook success, besides author E.L. James and sexlives worldwide, is publisher Random House. In 2012, they sold a stunning 22,5% more eBooks than the year before, largely due to the succes of Fifty Shades. But looking further, we can see that it wasn’t just RH that profited. Big names Lagardère Publishing, the Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster all saw decent increases in sales. HarperCollins did not stay far behind RH, with a huge 17.6% sales increase in the last six months of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011.
Of course, eBooks are simply becoming more accessible. There are more e-readers, more available titles and there is more awareness that this can and will become the new way of reading.
But at least some of the success of the industry has to be attributed to Fifty Shades of Grey. For many months, the media regularly gave attention to the many women reading the trilogy in the metro on their way to work. You didn’t even have to read about it in a newspaper or on a website. Even now, chances are pretty high you’ll see someone e-reading Fifty Shades if you go out of the house. Like that, the books had a huge part in making eBooks more mainstream, which had a positive impact on the industry as a whole. Other publishers saw the potential, and they reserved a higher marketing budget for the promotion of their own titles. Combined with the increasing presence of e-reading people all around society, this created a snowball effect for the growth of the eBook market.
Whether you are a fan of the trilogy or not: if you are an e-reader now, chances are that’s in some part due to the erotic adventures of Anastasia and Christian.