March 28, 2013, - 3:17 pm

SEX SELLS: Random House Did What?

By Debbie Schlussel

Not only does abusive bondage sex sell, it is sadly the only thing propping up Random House and Barnes and Noble. Last year, there were reports that sales of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy of stupidity were the only reason that Barnes and Noble was kept afloat, especially with its brick and mortar stores. The books were the only thing that brought in enough customers to keep the stores afloat. And, now, Random House reports that the book is the reason it is profitable, with 70 million copies of the fifth-grade level of writing about a woman. (You can read my review of the trilogy of “books” here.) In fact, Random House gave each of its American employees a $5,000 bonus because the books were so successful. Says everything about America and where the book industry is headed (and why Playboy nearly went outta biz–because its business has been subsumed by the net and mainstream publishers).


E.L. James’s “Fifty Shades” erotic trilogy sold more than 70 million copies in print, audio and e-book editions in English, German and Spanish from March through December, according to Bertelsmann SE & Co., parent of the books’ publisher Random House. The first of the books was published in the U.S. in March.

Those sales made the books Random House’s fastest-selling series ever, Bertelsmann said in its 2012 annual report. Indeed, the trilogy is one of the one of the fastest-selling books series for any publisher ever, hitting the 20-million sales mark in the U.S. after just four months.

For a sense of scale, Random House’s second biggest selling North American title last year—Gillian Flynn’s thriller “Gone Girl,” which has been a national best-seller for 41 weeks—sold more than two million copies in the U.S. and Canada in all formats, between June and December.

The “Fifty Shades” financial effect was so strong that Markus Dohle, Random House’s chief executive, gave every U.S. employee on the payroll for at least a year a $5,000 thank-you bonus in December. In a letter dated March 26 and addressed to Random House employees world-wide, Mr. Dohle noted that the trilogy has continued to sell well in its Random House markets so far this year.

At a time when other publishers are struggling to generate sales growth, Random House’s world-wide revenue rose 23% to €2.1 billion ($2.7 billion).

In one scene in the third of the silly “50 Shades” book, the woman’s husband becomes so angry with her that he gives her red welts all over her body. Charming.

Like I said, bondage sells. Sad. And on the bright side, porn for ugly, bored chicks and unhappy, middle-aged housewives is no longer an under-served market niche.

How long before they start teaching kids to write this crap in junior high? 3-2-1 . . . . Forget about becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg, when you can become the next slovenly E.L. James.


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18 Responses

Its kind of ironic that during Passover Week, people still dream of being enslaved.

Human nature is hard to overcome. Thousands of years later, most of mankind still is not truly free.

Random House’s “bondage porn” is proof of it.

NormanF on March 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm

And Gone Girl isn’t a whole lot better. Lots of gratuitous sex in that book also.

Little Al on March 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm

And a 5th grade level is somewhat charitable. The internet on a mass basis is being slowly transformed from the written word to videos.

Little Al on March 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm


    The age of elite opinion and taste is dead.

    We now live in the age of mass opinion and taste. And the masses, when left to their own devices, settle for the lowest common denominator.

    We should not be surprised then at the popularity of “bondage porn.” Any one can become the next E.L James.

    NormanF on March 28, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Come on, if a man comes home and gives his wife welts, she calls the police, yet these same morons think that it is sexy in a book? Hell, if that turns you on, I am sure that your husbands would be happy to punch you in your big mouths to give you the orgasm of your lives.

I am curious about the weight and appearance of the women turned on by this poorly written porn. I suppose many are behemoths who bemoan the fact that no one pays attention to them, except at the zoo where patrons try to feed them peanuts.

Almost as bad is the HBO show “Girls,” where the unattractive, overweight baby walrus who (poorly) wrote this over indulgent show insists on taking her clothes off. The show is pointless and the lead “star” is the opposite of sexy. I saw snippets of a few shows, and could not watch more than that

Jeez, at least Kim Cattrell had a smoking body in Sex in the City. .

Jonathan E. Grant on March 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Jon, fat and ugly or big, beautiful and wide is the “new beautiful.”

Thin and petite people need not apply.

NormanF on March 28, 2013 at 3:51 pm

A lot of people are into freakery, including bondage and domination. Otherwise there wouldn’t be so much porn on the net. I don’t know why they are making so much of a big deal about that book. Haven’t the “romance” novels always been full of soft core porn aimed at women? I guess the thing going beyond “plain vanilla” is what has everybody’s panties up in a twist. There have always been people who want to get their freak on, but another sign of society’s decay is bringing it out in the open instead of leaving it in the bedroom or hidden in the plain brown wrapper where it belongs.

RT on March 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Baaaaaaaa. Baaaaaaaa. Baaaaaaa. Talk about herd mentality. It’s especially disgusting when a book is so popular when it doesn’t even titillate in a good way. But don’t tell that to all the daft broads who bought it. It’s so sad.

In the 80s I worked at a bookstore and romance novels and “Anonymous” books were quite popular. Women (especially black women…who bought the romance novels (at a time where was not a market for black characters written by black authors but most took place antebellum, so let that go… ) 3x as much as white women…and gays loved the filthy “Anonymous” smut.) liked the romance novels and the tame ones were written by Barbara Cartland or were of the Harlequin variety. If you wanted something more “hot” you could find it easily…Romance Novels making it more palatable than the dirty “Anonymous” variety for the filthy freaks (mostly gay men but the gay men also like the ‘bodice rippers’) too.

I say all that because even all the way back then you can find a better written, more sexy book than horrible FSOG.

But don’t tell that to the Lemmings acting like the book is the first sex book ever written. It’s so sick and sad, LOL.

Skunky on March 28, 2013 at 5:45 pm

To me,this says a lot about the “herd mentality”.

Everyone wants to be part of “group think” and individuality is frowned upon.

It reminds me of Harry Nilsson’s 1971 animated video “The Point”.Nobody wants to be an Oblio in todays society.

ebayer on March 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm

I remember when I was the only deviant. Now everyone is a deviant, and that is not as much fun!!!

Jonathan E. Grant on March 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    lmao@Jonathan 🙂

    ebayer on March 28, 2013 at 6:51 pm

I borrowed Fifty Shades of Gray from a neighbor and returned it after a couple of chapters. The book is nothing but poorly written porn drek. I was raised to believe that a man and woman should treat each other with love and respect. My parents set a good example and I myself have never been treated otherwise.

PaulaMalka on March 28, 2013 at 11:29 pm

I remember when the Harry Potter phenomenon took off (circa 1999 or thereabouts) among ‘ADULTS’, and I thought, man this is derivative mediocre children’s literature. I thought back then it was the sign of the collapse of what passes for Western civilization. This is somehow worse, way worse. 70 million copies! Lenny Cohen was truly prophetic, as he sang: It’s over, it ain’t going any further, take the only tree that’s left and stuff it in the hole that is your culture.

Larry in Tel Aviv on March 29, 2013 at 4:43 am

Jonathan, if everyone is a deviant but you, that makes you the only deviant. Think about it!

Infidel on March 29, 2013 at 4:53 am

    Jonathan is acting out his Bad Boy fantasies today while his wife isn’t looking! ha ha ha

    Rochelle on March 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I think this single statistic may tell us more about why we are in the mess we are than all the academic polls the media does. This a most revealing statistic.

And I thought sex was to be fun, not painful. If I want pain, I can put a nail in my shoe. I don’t get this.

Bob Guzzardi on March 29, 2013 at 9:38 am

I remember when I was in ELEMENTARY school and other kids were reading “The 10 Foot Tongue”. I may not have the title correct, but it was a porn book. My parents didn’t let me – not sure if they read it or not. I felt a little strange being one of the few kids who didn’t read it, but I’m glad I didn’t. And what parents would let their kids read something like that?! It’s sick.

David on March 29, 2013 at 10:16 am

And where are the women’s groups decrying the “glorification of violence” against women? HYPOCRITES!!!

Ted “The Swimmer” Kennedy swam AWAY from a dying woman trapped in his submerged car back in 1969, and spent days thinking up a good story, trying to get relatives to cover for him. He is also one third of the famous and disgusting “Waitress Sandwich” story, co-starring Senator Chris Dodd. He became a national political hero and almost became president. The Great StainMaker (42nd president) used women ad nausaeum for play toys and may well have raped one in an elevator, yet he is a cultural god and considered one of the top five presidents of all time. Nary a peep from women’s rights groups.

One of Jesus’ favorite words was ‘hypocrite.’ No wonder.


Alfredo from Puerto Rico on March 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm

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