'Fifty Shades of Grey' Flying Off Library Shelves

More that 1,300 are waiting to borrow a copy of "Fifty Shades of Grey."

If you're looking for a copy of the steamy trilogy, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” don’t bother going to Dormont Public Library, or any library in Allegheny County for that matter. 

“Nobody in the county has it on their shelf,” said Sandra Collins, executive director of  in McCandless.  

The trilogy by British author E. L. James is quite popular, particularly among women. Despite its popularity, public libraries in several states have banned the books, saying they are either too sexually explicit, or too poorly written. 

In Fond du Lac, Wis., the library did not order any copies, saying the books did not meet the standards of the community. In Georgia, the Gwinnett County Public Library, near Atlanta, declined to make the books available in its 15 branches, saying that the trilogy’s graphic writing violated its no-erotica policy, the New York Times reported. 

But that’s the not case here.

“There are about 183 copies shared among 45 libraries in Allegheny County and right now (more than) 1,326 have requests for holds,” Collins said. “I think people are more interested because of the hype, rather than it being good literature,” Collins said.  

As of Wednesday afternoon, Dormont Public Library Director Cindy D'Agostino there are about 1,400 requests for holds on the book. 

Dormont Library has one copy of each of the three books, D'Agostino said, and all of them are checked out. People are coming to the library and asking about the book daily, she said.

In the first six weeks the book has been available through new American publisher Vintage, "Fifty Shades of Grey" has sold 10 million copies.  That’s about 25 percent of the adult fiction market, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

The novel tells the story of a love affair between naive college student Anastasia and Christian, a billionaire with a taste for sexual dominance.

The sudden popularity of the novel is something D'Agostino has seen with other books.

"With 'Twilight,' 'Hunger Games' or 'Harry Potter,' they all fall into that category of instant popularity," she said. "All the titles like that have their day in the sun and cause a ruckus, and then eventually fade."

D'Agostino said it's impossible to keep the books on the shelves for now, but she expects that within a few weeks or months, there will be a new item that sparks public interest. She said sometimes books become fads, and she attributed it to readers looking for something fun to read as an escape.

"It might be that with the economy, books like this are just a good release," she said. "That might be the reason it's so popular. People just need to go somewhere that they don't normally go."


Dormont-Brookline Patch editor Erin Faulk contributed to this report.


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