Fifty Shades fastest to a million, obliterates records

Fifty Shades fastest to a million, obliterates records

All three books in E L James' Fifty Shades trilogy (Arrow) last week surpassed the single week sales record for an adult paperback novel of 205,130 copies sold, set the previous week by James' Fifty Shades of Grey.

The first of the trilogy is now the quickest adult paperback novel to surpass the million copies sold mark (1,162,637) through Nielsen BookScan, a feat achieved in just 11 official weeks of sales. It took the paperback for Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code (Corgi), the bestselling book of all time at over 4.5 million copies through BookScan, 36 weeks to hit that total. Fifty Shades of Grey is already the 32nd bestselling book since BookScan records began and only the 45th book to crack the one million unit sales mark.      

Fifty Shades of Grey (397,889 copies), Fifty Shades Darker (245,801) and Fifty Shades Freed (212,832) collectively sold 856,522 copies through the tills last week for a total of just under £3.9m, each beating the previous adult paperback weekly record-holder, Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol (Transworld) 141,156 copies in July 2010, by some distance.

The first book now holds the all-time paperback weekly record.

Random House could not confirm exact digital sales for the James trilogy, but said that e-books were "at a similar level" to physical sales. Combined print and digital sales, therefore, could approach the 1.8 million mark.

Rowling still holds the overall single week record; the last three children's hardbacks in the Harry Potter series had weekly sales highs of 1.8 million, 1.4 million and 1.4 million respectively. Brown still holds the overall weekly adult sales record - The Lost Symbol hardback sold 550,964 copies in the week ending 19th September 2009.   
Remarkably, the three books in the Fifty Shades series outsold the rest of the BookScan top 50 by approximately two to one in units (856,522 copies sold to 392,288) and value (£3.9m to £2.1m)  

The £3.9m sold by James last week alone is five and half times greater than the amount of revenue from the erotic books market through BookScan for all of 2011.