You’d never think of reading about Harry Potter and Fifty Shades of Gray in the same sentence, but there is one important similarity that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Both franchises started their respective lives as a phenomenon that practically came out of nowhere by unknown authors who have since become superstars. As we all know, JK Rowling was broker than broke before creating one of the most beloved books of the modern era and becoming a billionaire in the process.
One can’t imagine how abrupt an adjustment that would have to be for any writer, though I’d sure love to know myself, and right now it’s E L James’s time to shine in the spotlight with Gray. Entertainment Weekly reported that James reportedly makes $1.4 million a week on book sales, which is pretty insane if you know the book market. (An author’s lucky to make that much money in their lifetime, let alone a week).
So now The Bookseller is reporting that the Fifty Shades trilogy has outsold the entire Harry Potter series on Amazon in the UK. Sure, sex sells, we all know this, and there’s obviously a big untapped market for middle-aged women who want to read a naughty sex book. (There’s also hot competition in Hollywood right now for who’s going to adapt the screenplay).
Indeed, the trilogy has sold over 20 million copies in the United States, with sales roughly split between print and digital formats. Time is even reporting that some hotels in England keep copies of Grey in the desk drawer instead of the Bible. As a hotel owner told Time Magazine, “We thought it would be a hospitable thing to do, to have this available for our guests, especially if some of them were a little bit shy about buying it because of its reputation.”
However, despite the fact that Grey is currently the hottest phenomenon in books since God knows what, I have no doube that Harry Potter will continue to do just fine.