A Taiwanese publisher and an e-book service provider have jointly launched a pre-order campaign for the Chinese edition of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy of erotic novels, aiming to use the British bestsellers to boost sales.
Far EasTone Telecommunications, Taiwan’s No. 3 mobile provider, expects to see the number of members of its e-book service double and revenues for the service to triple this month from a year ago, said Josiane Hsu, the company’s marketing director.
Although the books have been described as “mummy porn” and rated as restricted, “we’re very confident the trilogy can increase our sales substantially,” Hsu said.
Since its launch in 2010, Far EasTone’s e-book platform has garnered about 300,000 members who have downloaded around 2.5 million books, she said.
The Taipei-based Star East Publications, which bought the copyrights for the trilogy, also expressed optimism over sales of the print version.
Fanny Yang (楊秀真), Star East’s chief editor, declined to reveal how much her company paid for the rights, saying only that it is by far the highest price her company has ever paid for a series of foreign novels.
“We’re confident it’s worth it,” she said.
The novels have become bestsellers worldwide and are especially popular among married women, with the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey, selling over 534,000 copies in the UK, according to industry publication The Bookseller.
The series has sold 31 million copies worldwide and has set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing even the Harry Potter series.
The Fifty Shades trilogy, notable for its explicit content involving bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism, features a relationship between billionaire Christian Grey and a literature student, Anastasia Steele.
The first book’s Chinese edition will hit stores on Aug. 24. The second book, Fifty Shades Darker, is expected to be available in mid-November and the third book, Fifty Shades Freed, is set to be released in early February next year.