Discussion Post: Is Fifty Shades of Grey getting non-readers reading again??

I started to think about writing this post earlier in the week after an unexpected discussion with some colleagues about the notorious Fifty Shades of Grey series. After another chat arose in the lunchroom at work yesterday, I decided I really wanted to jot down some thoughts for the blog.

Firstly, I haven’t actually read FSoG but I am amazed by how many people ask me whether I have. It’s well known among friends, family and colleagues that I am a book buff but I’ve been surprised by those who have broached the subject about FSoG with me. Friends who haven’t picked up a book since high school to my sixty year old boss to my mum- all have struck up the conversation… “Hey have you heard of that book Fifty Shades of Grey?”

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)

To be honest I can’t really say why I haven’t read the book. I can’t use the excuse that I don’t want to read it just because everyone else is- because that’s why I read the Twilight series and I can’t use the literary snob excuse either considering I read across almost every genre. But FSoG has certainly appealed to a broad market, mainly female. But what’s all the fuss? Kat at Book Thingo recently posted her thoughts on on why readers love FSoG.

It doesn’t matter whether FSoG is fantastic or a piece of crap, the fact is people are talking about it. Everywhere! And I know many people who have picked up the book based on word of mouth reviews who may not have picked up a book in many, many years. That’s got to count for something! These are people who don’t follow book blogs, who don’t use Goodreads and don’t browse bookstores religiously. But they are buying or borrowing FSoG like it’s going out of fashion (which likely won’t happen anytime soon).

It makes me think about my reaction to the Twilight series. There are times I remain tight-lipped when these books are discussed or hesitate to put my hand up as a fan. Twilight became so cool that it became uncool. But I do appreciate what this series did for my reading habits. It broke a reading draught following Uni when I was desperate to read something that wasn’t a text book or journal article. Twilight was a major catalyst for me in the realm of reading and writing. I discovered a world of books in genres I had never considered previously and it also had me tapping into the online community of book lovers in Australia and abroad.

These chats I had at work really made me reflect on the importance of word of mouth reviews and also the strong association with advertising. FSoG is bringing non-readers out of the closet and maybe it’ll be enough of a taster to tempt them to seek out other books in similar genres. Who knows?! All I know is that if it means I get to talk books with more people then I’m happy 🙂

My question to you: Is there a particular book that got you out of a reading draught or do you know of one that got a non-reader reading again? 


  • Great post, Jayne. I’ve had a couple of people ask me if I’ve read this, even one while I was clearly reading another book (the cover was completely different).

    Twilight is a series that got me reading again, too. I’d stopped reading later in high school and during uni and I finally gave in to Twilight once all the books were out and after that I started actively looking for books again, so that is a good, good thing!

    • Despite all the critics, it’s books like Twilight and Fifty Shades that can pull someone out of a reading slumber and pick up a book again. I bet you are just as glad as me to get back into the world of reading again Mandee… there are just too many books- too many stories- out there to miss out on!

  • I actually haven’t ever had a reading drought but Twilight was responsible for me discovering book blogs.
    I haven’t read Fifty Shades yet either because that particular erotic bent doesn’t appeal to me, but like you I am constantly asked if I have. In fact even the courier who brings all my lovely packages from publishers asked me about it last week because he had just bought the set for his girlfriend for her birthday.

  • I think there will be a small percentage of people who will be drawn into reading more regularly again but for most non-readers they will read this and then wait for the next big buzz book before they read anything else. Never mind, it is still good that there are people who are reading who don’t normally.

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