Death knell for books rung too early as sex sells
02 May 2013
Thomson Reuters, by Belinda Goldsmith
Erotic trilogy "Fifty Shades of Grey" helped drive print and e-book sales in Britain to record levels in 2012 with publishers hailing figures on Wednesday as proof that digital books are not killing the traditional market quite yet.
Print and e-book sales rose 4 percent to 3.3 billion pounds ($5 billion) after slipping 2 percent in 2011, top British trade organization The Publishers Association said, although printed book sales fell 1 percent and had dropped 5 percent in 2011.
Chief Executive Richard Mollet said the overall rise was driven by a 21-percent jump in fiction sales to 674 million pounds, fuelled by demand for E.L. James's trilogy, a sadomasochistic story of student and businessman Christian Grey.
The books, published by Bertelsmann-owned Random House, sold over 70 million copies globally and were lampooned by critics. They are set to be made into a film, and sparked other sales of a growing genre of fiction dubbed "mummy porn".
"You can see in the world around you the growth in e-readers," said Mollet, pointing to commuters engrossed in Amazon kindles, iPads and Barnes and Noble's Nook.
"But what is interesting is that the continued growth of digital books does not seem to be eating away (as much as expected) at physical sales."
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