'Fifty Shades of Grey', the raunchy novel written by EL James (real name Erika Mitchell) has become the fastest selling paperback of all time, overtaking even the hugely popular Harry Potter books by Jk Rowling. According to the Daily Mail, the first instalment of the book sold over 100,000 copies - more than Rowling managed with Harry Potter and more than Stephenie Meyer managed with Twilight.
Experts in the publishing industry have claimed that sales of the books (dubbed 'mummy porn' have been driven by "frustrated middle aged mothers." The Bookseller's chart compiler, Phillip Stone, told the Daily Mail that the reputation of the books had managed to spread like wildfire "totally through word of mouth." He added "It is highly unusual for a book to sell so well without there being a film adaptation or the author being well known, like Dan Brown or JK Rowling. Clearly it has become acceptable for something like this to be talked about openly." A spokesperson for Nielsen Book-Scan, who provide official book sale chart figures, said "the success has not been driven by people who regularly buy books, but by people who buy maybe three or four books a year. The books have crossed into the mass market. Clearly, people aren't embarrassed by (the book's racy content) any more."
Mitchell originally posted the novels online as a source of fan fiction, based on the Twilight series. Now, having signed a publishing deal thought to be worth around 4 million pounds, she has also landed a Fifty Shades of Grey movie contract, as her own fiction looks poised to surpass the popularity of its source material.