On Goodreads, ‘50 Shades of Grey’ is a regional hit

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Mothers in Utah who might have found news of the popularity of the underground erotic hit ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ baffling can be forgiven, according to the data at Goodreads. Among the social reading website’s 8.6 million users, Utah and Wyoming readers were the least likely to be reading E.L. James’ novel.

The graphic above shows which states have most embraced the book, which the New York Times dubbed ‘mommy porn.’ The novel tells the story of a love affair between naive college student Anastasia and Christian, a billionaire with a taste for sexual dominance.


In the first six weeks the book has been available through new American publisher Vintage, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has sold 10 million copies. To put that in perspective, the president of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group explained that the book had captured 25% of the adult fiction market -- quite a lot. And there are even more books in circulation -- ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ was a word-of-mouth hit via a small Australian publisher before Vintage picked it up.

More than 11,000 Goodreads members have written capsule reviews of the book on the site. Though the three most popular only have one star, that hasn’t stopped legions from being tempted by the book. A popular five-star review reads, ‘Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I still feel somewhat under the spell of this book. I’m so ... beguiled by it ;-) (book allusion). It was honestly an amazing read -- and one which I meant to just skim a few sample pages of, but ended up buying and then staying up the entire night to finish.’

Among Goodreads members, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is most popular in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and New York. Except ‘most popular’ isn’t exactly it -- those are the states where the book is most likely to have been read. Yet those readers are not as enthusiastic about the book as their counterparts to the south and west -- readers in Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Nebraska gave the book its highest ratings.

That enthusiasm has carried over: Goodreads has a list of other erotica titles that are starting to take the site by storm.


The deluxe mommy-porn apartment in the sky

Bestselling ‘mommy porn’: ’50 Shades of Grey’

Porn-ish ’50 Shades of Grey’ grinds toward movie deal

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Image credit: Goodreads