Erotic novel arouses few in Beaufort County, though library has ordered more

achristnovich@beaufortgazette.comMay 13, 2012 

"Fifty Shades of Greyâ€

SPECIAL TO THE BEAUFORT GAZETTE AND THE ISLAND PACKET

Some libraries and book stores are banning a steamy romance novel titled "Fifty Shades of Grey," but the book is getting a warmer welcome in Beaufort County.

Three copies are currently circulating in the county's library system, and four more have been ordered for the Bluffton branch, according to Bluffton reference librarian Bratton DeLoach.

The Hilton Head Island library has about 25 people on a waiting list for its one copy, reference manager Halle Eisenmann said Friday.

"We try to collect what people tell us they want to be reading," she said, adding that the Hilton Head library has received about one inquiry per day for "Fifty Shades of Grey" since it was featured on the "Today" show in early March.

The novel, E.L. James' first, tells an "erotic, amusing, and deeply moving" story about an intense relationship between main characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, according to Amazon.com.

The "Fifty Shades" trilogy -- sequels are "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed" -- tops both The New York Times and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists.

Barnes & Noble on Hilton Head has all three books for $10.98 each. Before they were available in paperback, some customers paid $99 or more for one of Barnes & Noble's e-readers so they could read the e-book versions, assistant store manager Jodie Srutek said. The e-books cost about $10.

Srutek said she only knows of one customer who returned the book. Eisenmann said "Fifty Shades of Grey" met the library system's standards.

Some other places have been less welcoming to "Fifty Shades of Grey."

Libraries in Wisconsin, Georgia and Florida have either declined to order the book or pulled it from shelves.

Librarians in four Florida counties wouldn't buy it, even though hundreds of people had requested it.

"It's semi-pornographic," said Don Walker, a spokesman for Brevard County, Fla., where librarians pulled 19 copies from shelves after reading reviews about it.

Reviews are anything but gray, describing the novel as "entertaining" and "sexy" or "cringe-worthy" and "heinously written."

Eisenmann said her opinion falls into the latter category.

"It wasn't my cup of tea," she said, rolling her eyes a little and smirking. "I see this more as a flash in the pan ... a year from now I don't see as much demand for it."

Hesitating, she added, "Unless there's a movie."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Anne Christnovich on Twitter at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo.

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