Could Fifty Shades of Grey Be China’s Next Bestseller?

Known for constructing entire faux Apple stores and other original feats in piracy, China has taken it upon itself to quietly lift yet another iconic staple of American culture: Fifty Shades of Grey. After being translated into Taiwanese last year, E.L. James’s sexually explicit book series is being pirated and peddled in Chinese bookstores, according to the Telegraph.

As many as 400 booksellers on Taobao, China’s enormous shopping website, are stocking pirated versions of the novel, with the whole trilogy costing roughly £13.

Wrapped in the same distinctive blue steel cover, these copies are printed off in the southern city of Guangzhou from smuggled Taiwanese editions.

One of these vendors, the Good Union bookstore, also told the Telegraph that it sold about 80 sets of the trilogy over the last month. Taobao’s top bookseller, Travel Keeps You Young, sold 400.

One important question the Telegraph did not address, however, is where the printers in Guangzhou got their hands on a legally-printed version in the first place. Perhaps they just accidentally picked it up in an airport, thinking it was a crime novel—you know, handcuffs—and, well, once they started reading they didn’t want to stop in the middle of a perfectly good book that they spent maybe 1,000 yen on! I mean, who would refrain from reading a perfectly good 1,000-yen book, just because some of its themes are a little sadomasochistic?

Not the head of the Guangzhou printing press. No sir.


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