It’s never been easier to satisfy patrons’ desire for this hot lit
Since E.L. James first released Fifty Shades of Grey almost two years ago, her erotic Twilight fan fiction has taken the world by storm. From Fifty Shades of Grey: The Classical Album to the development of a movie based on the book to a licensed menswear line, you cannot escape the phenomenon. Worldwide sales of the trilogy now stand over 65 million copies, while Random House’s Vintage imprint has sold 35 million print and ebook editions in the United States. This past January, Doubleday released a collector-worthy hardcover edition of the trilogy with a combined first printing of 200,000 copies.
How has the trilogy’s popularity affected public perception of erotica? “Overall, I think people might be more apt not to be ashamed in the future about reading erotica,” says Megan Hart, author of the New York Times best-selling erotic novel Switch. And Kristina Wright, a writer (Dangerous Curves, Silhouette, 1999) and editor of erotic anthologies (Duty and Desire: Military Erotic Romance, Cleis, 2012), notes that James was able to take well-known tropes and bring erotica to global mainstream attention, introducing many new readers to the concept.
EROTICA IN BRIEF
Erotic communication in art and literature has had a long and varied history dating back to prehistoric Venus sculptures that were likely used in religious fertility rites. Sappho may be the most famous ancient Greek poet, thanks in part to the erotic poetry she wrote to her unknown lover. One of the most erotic pieces of poetry in the history of the Western world is the Song of Songs in the Bible.
During the excesses of late 18th-century French aristocratic society, the Marquis de Sade tried to expand the boundaries of acceptability even further, which resulted in his imprisonment but gave a name to the sexual kink of sadism.Fanny Hill, published in 1748 by John Cleland, is another seminal work if only for its impetus for over two centuries of obscenity trials and challenges on two continents.
Coming to the early 20th century, the challenges to the controversial publication of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Henry Miller’s novels Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn helped to reform obscenity laws in the United States and Britain. The sexual revolution of the 1970s was reflected in the dramatic increase in erotic fiction by female authors like Erica Jong (Fear of Flying), Nancy Friday (editor, My Secret Garden), and Anaïs Nin (Delta of Venus; Little Birds). In the 1980s, Anne Rice, under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaure, published the “Sleeping Beauty Trilogy”—The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty; Beauty’s Punishment; Beauty’s Release—that called to mind the novels of the Marquis de Sade, with their exploration of BDSM (bondage/discipline, domination/submission, sadomasochism) sexual acts.
During this same period, erotica publishers—Down There Press, Circlet Press, Cleis Press, Red Sage, and Blue Moon Books—gained recognition. Cecilia Tan founded Circlet to address the niche market of fantasy and sf erotica. In 1993, the British publisher Virgin Books started the Black Lace imprint to publish “erotica for women by women.” Although Random House shut the noted line in 2010, it was reactivated in 2012.
With the rise of ebooks, erotic fiction has gained even more ground with readers as sales of print erotica were almost solely dependent upon chain bookstores and niche market shops like Good Vibrations that catered to women. New presses like Ellora’s Cave, Amber Quill Press, Loose Id, and Samhain helped define the subgenre of erotic romance and today dominate the landscape of digital presses. Taking a cue from these pioneers, traditional romance publishers in the mid-2000s launched imprints dedicated to the print publication of erotic romance—Kensington’s Aphrodisia, Harlequin’s Spice, Avon’s Red, and NAL’s Heat.
A STARTER BIBLIOGRAPHY
As part of a continuing education workshop on erotic fiction I teach, I require attendees to read for a genre discussion three to four short stories, with at least one of the stories published within the last three years. A condensed version of my reading list is here:
Agony/Ecstasy: Original Stories of Agonizing Pleasure/Exquisite Pain, ed. by Jane Litte (Berkley, 2011)
Alison’s Wonderland, ed. by Alison Tyler (Spice: Harlequin, 2010)
Best Erotic Fantasy & Science Fiction,
ed. by Cecilia Tan & Bethany Zaiatz
(Circlet Pr., 2010)
Best Erotic Romance, ed. by Kristina Wright (Cleis Pr., 2011)
Best Women’s Erotica 2011 ,
ed, by Violet Blue (Cleis Pr., 2010)
Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories, ed. by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Cleis Pr., 2009)
Herotica: A Collection of Women’s Fiction, ed. by Susie Bright (Down There Pr., 1993–2008)
Lustfully Ever After: Fairy Tale Erotic Romance , ed. by Kristina Wright
(Cleis Pr., 2012)
Zane’s Sex Chronicles by Zane
(Atria: S. & S., 2008)
- Vivian Arend
- Eden Bradley
- Anne Calhoun
- Christine d’Abo
- Portia Da Costa
- Lauren Dane
- Delphine Dryden
- Madelynne Ellis
- Megan Hart
- Lorelei James
- Kristina Lloyd
- Kayla Perrin
- Tiffany Reisz
- Saskia Walker
The following sites are reliably tuned into the erotic fiction market, usually as part of a broader interest area. Some sites include reviews, others discussions of the genre.
Librarians are seeing this acceptance with requests for more material “like Fifty Shades.” Kristi Chadwick, director of the Emily Williston Memorial Library in Easthampton, MA, has noticed an increase in holds for erotic materials. “I don’t think we have seen our copies of E.L. James’s or Sylvia Day’s titles on our shelf more than once since we acquired them last year!”
As erotic fiction is classified within general fiction, specific circulation statistics are not available, but Robin Bradford, collection development librarian with the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, says that public service librarians at her system have reported high patron demand, and she receives a large number of patron-generated purchase requests.
If your library doesn’t already collect erotic literature, where should you start? How do you mine your collection for titles you may already have? How do you help patrons navigate the world of erotic literature and assist them in finding something they want to read?
Erotic literature today
The exploration of alternative sexual practices is a key feature of the genre. BDSM (bondage/domination/sadism/masochism) has become a catchall term for a wide range of behaviors and is perennially popular with readers of erotica. While erotica classics like Pauline Réage’s The Story of O (1954) and Anne Rice’s 1980s “Sleeping Beauty Trilogy” (written under the A.N. Roquelaure pseudonym) have explored some of the more extreme aspects of BDSM, readers new to erotic literature have been introduced to these elements through James’s “Fifty Shades” trilogy.
While many embraced the three titles, there has been backlash from longtime erotica readers and practitioners of the BDSM lifestyle who argue, among other things, that it is an unrealistic depiction. “For many BDSM practitioners,” says Riptide Publishing editor Sarah Frantz, “BDSM is as much as part of their sexuality as their gender orientation.” So James’s depiction of Ana’s love “curing” Christian of his desire for BDSM does not in any way represent real-life practitioners, argues Frantz. She also points out that Christian’s demand for Ana’s acceptance of the contract “as is” is not considered “safe, sane, and consensual,” which is the credo for most BDSM practitioners.
Publishers are now repackaging and promoting their frontlist and backlist erotic titles to take advantage of the surging interest. This year Harlequin’s Mira imprint is reissuing Hart’s erotic backlist (Broken; Dirty;Tempted; Deeper; Switch; Naked; Stranger) with elegant covers that feature monochrome images of flowers similar to the understated and tasteful covers of the “Fifty Shades” books. Interestingly, Hart’s 2010 title Switch hit the New York Times best sellers list for the first time in September 2012; Harlequin senior editor Susan Swinwood is certain this was more than just a happy coincidence. “The timing and the new cover direction helped us to achieve strong sales of Switch,” she notes. “The new covers have just a hint of suggestiveness for clever women yet look benign enough not to embarrass anyone caught reading them in public.”
Day hits a hot trifecta
Sylvia Day [see Q&A at right] has arguably benefited the most from being associated as a read-alike to the “Fifty Shades” trilogy. Last April, she self-published the first of her erotic “Crossfire” novels, Bared to You, as an ebook and print-on-demand title. Hearing the buzz from readers and reviewers, vice president and executive editor of Penguin’s Berkley Books imprint Cindy Hwang asked Day for a copy and was immediately hooked: “In the best erotic romances, you can’t separate the physical from the emotional, and that’s exactly what happened in Bared to You.”
Hwang bought the book, added a new Fifty Shades–style cover featuring a pair of cuff links, and released it as an ebook and trade paperback (with a 500,000-copy first printing). Bared to You is now a national best seller, hitting both the New York Times and the USAToday lists. Reflected in You, Day’s sequel released in October 2012, reached the number one spot on the New York Times combined print and ebook fiction list when it was still only available in ebook format; it also made news when it beat Fifty Shades of Grey in first-week sales in Britain, James’s home country. According to Nielsen BookScan sales figures for the first 50 weeks of 2012, James’s series—as individual trade paperbacks and as a boxed set—sold over 14 million copies. Trade paperback sales of Day’s two novels equaled nearly three-quarters of a million in sales in the same time period. The next title, Entwined in You, will be released June 4.
M/M fiction comes to the fore
Another growing subgenre in erotica to watch is that of M/M fiction, which is shorthand for male/male and is usually written for a female audience by female authors. This type of erotic fiction has not quite made the leap to traditional print markets, but it is gradually making inroads with major mainstream publishers. In August, Grand Central Publishing’s print/digital romance imprints Forever/Forever Yours will publish their first erotic M/M romance, Rie Warren’s In His Command. Yet the current ebook market for this genre continues to be dominated by such LGBT market-focused publishers as Torquere Press and newly launched Riptide Publishing. Particularly popular authors are Josh Lanyon, K.A. Mitchell, Alex Beecroft, and Heidi Cullinan. [For M/M title suggestions, see Devon Thomas’s 2010 roundup, “Bodice Rippers Without the Bodice: Ten Male-on-Male Romances for a Core Collection”—Ed.]
In the last two years or so, there has also been a rise in the publication of female/female titles, while Cecilia Tan, founder and editor of Circlet Press, reports they have recently launched Gressive Press, a new sf/fantasy imprint specifically to address transgender and transsexual-positive stories. The LGBTQ erotica market is still very young but one poised for rapid growth, explains Riptide cofounder Rachel Haimowitz. “Society is catching up and not just accepting the LGBTQ community but also embracing them,” says Haimowitz. “Love is love, and people are people, and we can all relate to each other.”
Q&A with Sylvia Day
Breakout best-selling author Sylvia Day ponders the changes in the erotic fiction market, what her life has been like since the release of Bared to You in 2012, and why the real trend to watch is the emerging “new adult” genre, not erotica.
Since you were first published in 2005, how have the erotica and erotic romance markets changed? How did the success of Fifty Shades of Grey impact those markets?
The biggest change is ebooks. In 2005, most of my traditionally published books weren’t available digitally. There were also very few publishers and publisher imprints dedicated to erotic fiction. Black Lace in Britain and [Kensington’s] Brava and Red Sage in the United States were the best known. It wasn’t until 2006–07 that the big houses started imprints like [Berkley’s] Heat and [Harlequin’s] Spice, after the stunning success of Ellora’s Cave alerted the industry to the lucrative market for erotic works.
We’ve seen a rise in the sales of erotic fiction, certainly, but aside from my “Crossfire” series, there have been no other breakout hits. The books that were most heavily marketed to Fifty Shades readers were not actually erotic fiction—[Jamie McGuire’s] Beautiful Disaster and [Sylvain Reynard’s] Gabriel’s Inferno, for example. The unifying thread of these books isn’t erotic content but that they’re stories of twentysomething characters exploring relationships in which one or both of the protagonists are very damaged. Personally, I would say erotic fiction gained some new readers, but James’s trilogy and my books actually tap into the emerging new adult genre and that’s the real trend, not erotic fiction.
Why did you initially choose to self-publish Bared to You?
The biggest [reason] is that traditional publishers take a long time to get a book to market. I had a specific window of time in my schedule—a nine-month gap between releases—that I wanted to fill with a new book. There was no way a traditional publisher was going to get that done as quickly as I could on my own. Another reason was that the subject matter of the “Crossfire” series is very dark, and I wasn’t open to changing the story line or the troubling symptoms of Eva’s and Gideon’s traumas. As a professional writer, I know it’s not fair to shop a project that I’m not willing to collaborate on editorially.
Where do you see the erotic fiction market in two years?
Saturated, with declining sales. Erotic fiction has seen surges in the past, but they don’t last long. It’s a niche genre, and while the readership saw some expansion with Fifty Shades, it will always be a subset of the overall fiction market. However, I think sexy stories (not necessarily erotic) featuring twentysomething protagonists either in college or recent graduates will continue to gain traction over the next few years.
Where do you see the role of libraries in the erotic fiction market?
Most erotic fiction is published in trade paperback, which is cost-prohibitive for a lot of readers. The digital editions of the books have previously been expensive as well. Regardless of the genre, I see libraries as a wonderful alternative to piracy, especially with the higher-priced formats.
What other erotic fiction authors
should librarians follow?
Lora Leigh, Lauren Dane, Rhyannon Byrd, Shayla Black, Jaci Burton, Lisa Marie Rice, Shannon McKenna, Emma Holly, and Maya Banks. These ladies are all veteran erotic fiction writers, with lovely backlists and proven longevity. They’ve weathered the genre’s surges and declines and know how to deliver a great erotic story that appeals to a wide readership.
Ebooks continue to be popular with readers of erotic literature, especially when the covers are sexually suggestive. “We know that there are still many readers who prefer to read erotic romance digitally—after all, the recent resurgence in the [genre] started digitally,” says Penguin’s Hwang. “So we’re publishing digital-first erotic romances in InterMix [Penguin’s new digital romance imprint].” So far the imprint has struck gold with its initial releases. Hwang reports that nine months after InterMix launched in January 2012, it enjoyed its first New York Times best seller with Beth Kery’s eight-part serialized erotic novel Because You Are Mine ( LJXpress Reviews, 8/3/12).
Many other traditionally print-first publishers are also venturing into digital-only or digital-first romance imprints. In 2010, Harlequin started Carina Press as a digital-first division and has created digital-first lines for short stories related to its print category lines. And 2012 saw the relaunch of Random House’s Loveswept imprint (a category line that closed in 1999) and the births of HarperCollins’s Avon Impulse, Grand Central’s Forever Yours, and Random’s “new adult” Flirt digital-only imprints. None of these imprints are exclusively for erotica, but erotic fiction is being acquired as part of their mission where appropriate. The emerging genre of “new adult” is one to watch for erotic content as it seems to be focusing on the coming-of-age exploits of characters in their twenties. However, the boundaries of this genre are still shaking themselves out among publishers, authors, and readers.
Readers’ advisory issues
As with any other readers’ advisory (RA) interaction, respect must be given to the patron’s reading preferences. The choice of which erotica and erotic literature a patron chooses to read is highly personalized as sexuality is an individual experience. According to erotica anthology editor Wright, “The key is finding the themes you enjoy and then discovering the authors who write what you like to read.”
A pitfall of erotica RA is assuming that it can be lumped in with romance. While a good chunk of such fiction can certainly be considered romantic, hot romance is not erotic romance is not erotica. The line differentiating them can be blurred, but the structure of the storytelling is fundamentally distinct. In a sexually explicit romance, the development of the emotional relationship drives the story. The sex scenes are integral to the story, but they are not the primary way in which the relationship develops. For erotic romance, the development of the relationship again is the focus of the story, but here the sex scenes are the primary way in which the development is revealed to the reader.
Erotica, on the other hand, does not require a love story of any sort. “Erotica is not a romance at all,” explains author Hart. “The content is graphic, and the plot has a sexual premise, but the movement of the story is not about the emotional relationship or ‘happy ever after’ of the characters.” Berkley’s Hwang agrees. “I think the difference is really about how the sexual component is used.”
An erotica story can be about anything, but the journey of the main characters is generally shown through the lens of their sexuality and sexual practices. Consider Molly Weatherfield’s 1995 Carrie’s Story (2d ed. Cleis, Feb. 2013). Dubbed “the American twist on The Story of O,” this is the story of a young woman who is invited into a D/s (Dominant/submissive) relationship and then given to another man as part of the sexual scene in which they are involved. The focus is on Carrie and her introduction to and acceptance of this lifestyle for herself. The man who originally brought her into the scene attempts to win her back, but Carrie rejects him. In this respect, Carrie’s Story is not a good match for someone looking for a read-alike for the romance aspects of Fifty Shades of Grey. It is a good choice for a reader wanting to explore more deeply the BDSM elements introduced in James’s novel.
Sexually graphic also does not automatically mean erotica. Street or urban lit is known for its sexual explicitness. Many of the characters engage the world by means of their sexuality, especially female characters. Again, a distinction must be made as to whether the main characters’ development is shown through the lens of their sexuality or sexual practices. For some characters, sexuality is only another tool with which they conquer the demons of their existence.
You will find a number of erotica readers don’t necessarily care about the characters’ motivations or the author’s storytelling choices. They just want to know if the book is sexually explicit. My favorite way of determining this criteria is by asking, “How hot do you like it?” This provides readers with a nonjudgmental opening to make their own decision. You may be surprised by how often the response is, “The hotter, the better.”
Collecting Sexual Materials for Libraries Survey
In an attempt to understand librarian and library staff attitudes towards collecting sexual materials for libraries, librarians Scott Vieira and Michelle Martinez, assistant professors at Sam Houston State University, are asking for survey participants and offering the chance to win one of four available $25 gift certificates to Amazon.com. All librarians and library staff from any type of library are encouraged to participate.
The survey, “Collecting Sex Materials for Libraries: An Opinion Survey,” takes anywhere from between 25-40 minutes depending on reading speed, and consists of 49 questions. Vieira and Martinez are looking for opinions on how librarians and library staff members feel about things such as 50 Shades of Grey, Hustler, gay erotica, and other items that are often considered contentious.Click here to start the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NZT9P79.
Marketing your erotica
Marketing your collection to readers of erotica is a balancing act. You want to give your patrons a sense of privacy with this most intimate of reads but also offer them an understanding that the library supports their reading interests no matter what they choose. Robin Beerbower, RA librarian with the Salem Public Library, WA, created a read-alike pamphlet to hand out to patrons looking for similar titles. Another subrosa technique with print books is to create bookmarks with read-alike titles and insert them into the listed books. This works for any genre. With ebooks, check to see if your delivery platform allows you to generate targeted “if you like this, then try these other titles” or “other patrons who borrowed this, also borrowed these titles” lists similar to online bookstores’ “people who bought this title, also purchased these titles” function.
Collection development issues
The first thing to realize when collecting erotic literature for a library setting is that you likely already have a couple of appropriate titles in your collection. Even if these books were not consciously purchased as erotic, you may find a few titles pop up when doing a subject heading search of “erotic stories.” Periodically checking these results is a good practice if your library does copy cataloging as you may find odd results, such as the time I discovered Meg Cabot’s YA title All-American Girl with that heading. It has since been removed from the record. Likewise, Williston Memorial Library’s Chadwick found the same subject heading on Cabot’s Princess on the Brink in their catalog.
To determine if your patrons even want erotic titles, consider your current holdings. Check the circulation figures on the titles with “erotic stories” as the subject heading. Look at the popularity in your community of authors like Zane, Lora Leigh, Joey W. Hill, Lauren Dane, Jaci Burton, Maya Banks, Victoria Dahl, Lisa Marie Rice, Beth Kery, Jacqueline Carey, Laurell K. Hamilton, Emma Holly, Eric Jerome Dickey, and Anne Rice. If you have any of the classic erotic literature authors such as D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, or Erica Jong still active in your collection, consider updating your old volumes with new editions. High circulation of these and similar authors is a strong indicator that a selection of explicitly erotic titles would be welcome in your community.
The popularity of James’s trilogy is actually not a good indicator by itself of the desire for erotica in a community. This is because of the added mega-best-seller influence, or what I call the Oprah Effect. A great many of your patrons likely requested these books, at least the first volume, because it was the book everyone was talking about. However, patrons who have finished the trilogy may ask for more titles like it, and if you can determine that they are looking for books with erotic elements, this is a solidly positive indicator.
The anonymous patron
Owing to the sensitive nature of expressing a desire for erotica, libraries may want to consider a method by which patrons can anonymously request particular titles and authors. This may be hard to balance if the collection development policy requires accepting purchase suggestions only from cardholding patrons.
Patron suggestions are a valuable source of collection development leads. Even if particular titles or authors are unavailable, by tracking what types of stories are being requested, you will have a better idea of the interests of the community and will be well positioned to spot trends.
The ebook versus print debate is probably best illustrated by the erotica genre. Many readers of this genre prefer to read electronically, especially if the cover is in any way lurid or if they have young children at home. In the October 2012 survey on erotic reading habits I conducted for a continuing education workshop, some respondents indicated a preference for erotic fiction in ebook format to avoid the possible embarrassment of checking out print titles from library staff. There are many options with publishers, especially smaller presses, when it comes to erotica in electronic format. When considering an ebook platform, look at which small presses are in the catalog, such as Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Ravenous Romance, Total-E-Bound, Loose Id, and Cleis Press.
However, most readers new to the genre first stumble across it in print. This is usually because print lends itself better to noncommittal browsing. Reviews of erotic literature can be hard to find. Well-established print publishers such as Cleis will have their titles periodically reviewed in national publications. RT Book Reviewsh has a section dedicated to erotica and erotic romance. There are also a number of review blogger sites that include erotica as part of their regular coverage. [See sidebar for a listing of the best sites.]
If you’re buying in print to promote a browsing collection of erotica, I would recommend anthologies such as Susie Bright’s groundbreaking “Herotica” series, as they will give the reader the broadest possible exposure to a range of authors. Even single-author collections like Nin’s Little Birds will let the reader explore a broad selection of story types.
The first line of defense for reconsideration requests is having a strong collection development policy already in place. If your policy specifically bars the addition of erotica or erotic literature to the collection, it should also clearly define what is considered erotica or erotic literature. Choosing this route can eliminate a number of classic and highly popular authors and titles from the collection, however. To be effective, librarians cannot pick and choose to which titles and authors they apply the collection development policy.
A clearly written policy can help you avoid Brevard County Library System’s (BCLS) experience. The Florida system initially removed copies of the “Fifty Shades” trilogy from circulation in March 2012 due to media reports classifying the contents as pornography and then reversed its decision in May 2012 owing to patron demand for the titles. As of this writing in January 2013, 30 copies of the trade paperback of Fifty Shades of Grey, two copies of the audiobook, and five copies of the large-print edition remain in circulation, with all checked out, according to the BCLS public catalog.
The second line is to have a clear reconsideration request process in place and to have every staff member, pages and volunteers included, trained on it. If the library designates certain staff members to be responsible for initial acceptance of requests, make sure every staff member knows who the designees are. Staff members not designated to accept requests should be trained in proper responses to the patron’s complaint and how to transition the patron to a designated staff member. Many times, reconsideration requests can be handled informally by respecting and actively listening to the patron’s concerns.
If the patron wishes to file a formal request, the designated staff member should clearly inform the patron of the process of reconsideration and at which points the patron can expect to hear a response. The patron should also be informed of the possible outcomes of the request, which may include the library retaining the item precisely as it is. Should the patron choose not to proceed with a formal request, the challenged item should be immediately returned to the collection. It may be politic to wait until the patron has left the building to do this, but that should be the only delay.
Formal requests should include a form where patrons detail their opposition to the item, assert they have read, viewed, or listened to the item in its entirety, and acknowledge that they understand the process the library uses for reconsideration requests and the possible outcomes of the request. It is also useful to provide patrons with a booklet with all of the relevant policies when the challenge is made, including the collection development policy and any intellectual freedom policies the library board has adopted, along with a copy of the reconsideration request form. The provision of such a packet is often sufficient for patrons to feel their requests have been adequately heard. Once the items have been considered according to the process, patrons should be notified in writing of the resolution to the challenge.
If you are not already familiar with the genre, I recommend you lay your hands on a number of erotica anthologies and pick three to four stories to read. See my starter bibliography on this page for suggestions. Get a feel for the lay of the land. The story may not be to your taste, or you may find your new favorite genre. Either way, you will have a better understanding of its appeal. Adding erotica when it is not your thing is the same as adding in any other specialized collection that is not your thing. You can do this and probably already have with other collections. If you are not in management, you need to ensure management has your back in case any challenges are made—either by the public or other staff members.
Ultimately, erotic literature is not going away, and it needs to be given consideration as part of a library’s collection. As the ladies of River City in Meredith Willson’s musical The Music Man say, “Chaucer! Rabelais! Balzac!”
Anecdotal evidence of those who follow erotica and erotic romance publishing will tell you there has been a steady increase in titles and sales in the last five to ten years. But what are the hard figures? From 2007
to 2011, Bowker assigned 15,633 ISBNs to a mix of erotica and romance erotica, print and electronic. Its figures for 2012 are not yet complete, but it has already assigned over an additional 3,000 ISBNs. Ingram and OverDrive were unable to share specific sales figures but did share recent top ten sellers as of early December 2012.
1 Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. Jam es
2 Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
3 Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James
4 Bared to You by Sylvia Day
5 Fifty Shades of Grey (Large Print) by E.L. James
6 Maintenance Man II: Money, Politics & Sex: Everyone Has a Price by Michael Baisden
7 Reflected in You by Sylvia Day
8 Fifty Shades Darker (Large Print) by
9 Zane’s Nervous by Zane
10 Afterburn by Zane
1 Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
2 Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
3 Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James
4 Fifty Shades Trilogy Bundle by E.L. James
5 Misled by Sylvia Day
6 Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
7 What Happened in Vegas by Sylvia Day
8 A Week in the Snow by Gwen Masters
9 Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks
10 Lustfully Ever After ed. by Kristina Wright
From BookScan, which tracks approximately 85 percent of the retail sales market in the United States for physical books, the top 26 titles classified as “Erotica” or “Romance/Erotica” for the first 50 weeks of 2012 are:
1 Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
2 Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
3 Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James
4 Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James (boxed set)
5 Bared to You by Sylvia Day
6 Reflected in You by Sylvia Day
7 The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A.N. Roquelaure
8 Switch by Megan Hart
9 Beauty’s Punishment by A.N. Roquelaure
10 Cincuenta Sombras de Grey by E.L. James (Spanish)
11 Deeper by Megan Hart
12 Beauty’s Release by A.N. Roquelaure
13 The Dark Garden by Eden Bradley
14 Pleasures of the Night by Sylvia Day
15 Anything He Wants by Sara Fawkes
16 Cincuenta Sombras Mas Oscuras by E.L. James (Spanish)
17 Cincuenta Sombras Liberadas by E.L. James (Spanish)
18 Wicked Pleasure by Lora Leigh (mass-market paperback)
19 Broken by Megan Hart
20 Belong to Me by Shayla Black
21 12 Shades of Surrender by Anne Calhoun
22 Wicked Ties by Shayla Black
23 Cherished by Maya Banks
24 The Hot Box by Zane
25 Sweet Temptation by Maya Banks
26 Sweet Seduction by Maya Banks
Trade paperback format unless otherwise noted. Of the BookScan list, the English-language editions of the “Fifty Shades” trilogy accounted for 14,155,563 units sold in the first 50 weeks of 2012, Sylvia Day’s Bared to You and Reflected in You for 730,619, and the remaining 20 titles for 481,598.
COLLECTING SEX MATERIALS IN LIBRARIES
Librarians Scott Vieira and Michelle Martinez, assistant professors at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, are conducting a survey to better understand librarian and library staff attitudes toward collecting sexual materials like Fifty Shades of Grey, Hustler magazine, and gay erotica. Survey participants get the chance to win one of four $25 Amazon gift certificates.http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NZT9P79
Katie Dunneback works as a collection development librarian. She has been a reader of erotic fiction for 15 years and a published author of erotica under a pseudonym for more than five