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Fifty Shades of Grey becomes bestselling British fiction book

8th August 2012

After breaking numerous sales records since its publication, E. L. James' erotic fiction phenomenon Fifty Shades of Grey has now become the bestselling fiction book of all time in the UK, with 5.3 million print and ebook copies sold.

It has now been at the top of the UK bestseller charts for 16 consecutive weeks, while the second and third spots have been dominated by the other books in James' hugely popular trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, which have sold 3.6 million and 3.2 million copies, respectively.

The novels focus on the increasingly complex relationship between young student Anastasia Steele and the eponymous Christian Grey, a multi-millionaire who slowly corrupts the object of his desire.

James, who originally wrote the books as Twilight fan fiction, said she is shocked by the runaway success of the trilogy.

'My main ambition when I signed the deal with Random House was to see my books in the shops. The whole process has been both extraordinary and rewarding. I couldn't be more pleased with the sales,' she added.

Susan Sandon, managing director of Random House imprint Cornerstone Publishing, described the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon as one of the most extraordinary experiences of her entire publishing career.

'The speed and sheer size of the sales is incredible and the roles played by so many people across the business simply breathtaking,' she commented.

The popularity of the books is set to increase further, as the trilogy will be filmed as part of a three-part big screen series, though the cast has yet to be confirmed.

Despite being the bestselling fiction title in the UK, the first instalment in the Fifty Shades trilogy has some way to go before it becomes the bestselling book in British history - that honour belongs to the King James Bible, with tens of millions of copies believed to have been sold since the first translation in 1611.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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