Cornerstone has claimed that the first day sales of ‘Grey’ have been “record-breaking” for an adult paperback in the industry.
The latest edition of E L James’ bestselling series – Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian went on sale around the world last Thursday 18th June, just 18 days after the publisher first announced its existence.
While Cornerstone would not release exact figures, the publisher said it believes first day sales of the title have been record-breaking for an adult paperback title in the UK. Sainsbury's told The Bookseller: "Sainsbury’s sold nearly 20,000 copies of Grey – the most we’ve ever sold in a day for a paperback."
The confirmed official biggest first-week sale for an adult title through Nielsen BookScan is the hardback of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol (Bantam) which sold just under 551,000 copies in October 2009. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey (Arrow) has the one-week record for an adult book when it sold over 664,000 units in the week ending 7th July 2012. The all-time record for any title is the 1.8 million units sold by the children’s editions of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Bloomsbury) in July 2007.
Nielsen BookScan does not release figures for single day sales.
James’ latest novel, which is the story of the first book told from the point of view of the male protagonist Christian Grey, has been at the top spot on the pre-order charts of Waterstones and Amazon Kindle since its announcement 18 days ago.
Chris White, fiction buyer at Waterstones, said: “Sales were extraordinary. It was like it was 2012 all over again. Once again our shops are abuzz with Grey-mania.”
While Sion Hamilton, retail operations director of Foyles, said: "We are stocking Grey across all of our stores and expect to see strong sales in the next few days.”
Susan Sandon, m.d of Cornerstone said: “We've been on a rollercoaster ride in the 18 days since announcing publication and the excitement continues. Everyone in Team Grey - both here and overseas - has been truly amazing in their efforts and through their extraordinary hard work, imagination and professionalism we have launched Erika's novel in style.”
Aslan Byrne, sales director of Cornerstone, said the trade had been “spectacular” in terms of the speed of response, enthusiastic support and creative promotional plans for the title.
“We are thrilled with the extraordinary sales to date and continue to carefully monitor stock levels,” he said.
While E L James was at an exclusive book signing of the title at Barnes & Noble in New York for the release yesterday (18th June), in the UK, the first three review copies of the book were flown in by a helicopter marked “Grey Enterprises” to ITV Studios in London for three reviewers to read for the television show “This Morning”.
Other marketing activity included a one-day takeover on publication day of the screen at Piccadilly Circus in London, with an animated creative including a birthday message for Christian. There was also a takeover of the websites for both Heat and Closer, yesterday, and Twitter activity using the hashtag #GreyUK.
Reviews of the title have ranged in reception, with The Mirror and The Express giving it positive feedback, but many others including the London Evening Standard and The Guardian less flattering.