The 50 Shades Silver Lining

The 50 Shades Silver Lining

Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 in Matty Says, Publishing | 11 comments

We hear about this book series everywhere we go. There’s articles abuzz stating that it’s now one of the bestselling books ever. It’s become a craze.

I’ve been fairly quiet about the subject so far, and I don’t have a lot to say. I have opinions that for now, will remain my own. However, I do want to point out one thing – there is a bit of a silver lining to all this.

I say a silver lining, because a lot of people hate the books. They think the writing is horrible, the sex is boring, or despise the fact it was started as Twilight Fan Fiction and now the authors has made millions, etc. So where is this glimmer of good news? People are reading.

Say what you will about 50 Shades of Grey, but it has people reading that never read. They don’t go to the library, they don’t visit bookstores, and they don’t read books. Period. But now they are. I don’t care what that book did or how it came to be, it sparked the reading bug into people that would never otherwise pick-up a book. My hope is that now those people continue to look for more stories. Whether they’re like 50 Shades, or something completely different. Just keep reading!

The original series, Twilight, has hundreds of negative reviews that criticize the writing. When the series blew up, elitist writers, aspiring authors, and outraged readers, were appalled that such horrible writing could make it through the gatekeepers and into the world of books. Some aspiring authors claimed their writing was ‘so much better’ how could Meyers possibly have made it instead of them? What a travesty. But that book had magic that went beyond what some considered good writing. A type of magic that got. people. reading.

If we sweep all the controversy surrounding either series – or any other for that matter – under the rug for just one minute, that’s what we’re left with.  I don’t care how it happens, but when people who don’t read, are suddenly reading, that’s a good thing. This could open up the world of books to countless others who would never have a passion for it otherwise, which only expands the world of storytelling we all love to be a part of.

In my opinion, if a book gets people reading, that’s an important detail that seems to get overlooked in a lot of ways. I’m not saying it’s the only detail, or that it trumps any other detail, but it’s important and it carries value nonetheless.


  1. I completely agree with you. There are always critics of books, but I for one am for any book that gets people reading. It reminds me of all the craze about Harry Potter. That book was banned in schools across the world, and the one thing that schools failed to realize was that it was getting our children to read. 50 Shades is not for me, I have no desire what so ever to read that series, but if that book is what gets people to read, then hey that’s great. Who am I to judge.

    • I have no desire to read it either, but if it gets people into a bookstore, or searching for it online, I’m all for it. I know not everyone will return looking for more books to read, but even if it’s a small portion of new readers that we gain, that’s a great addition to the community of book lovers.

  2. I said the same thing about Twilight, too. I did read Twilight, but it got me reading again, and I really haven’t stopped since. Twilight was read by so many people who weren’t really reading very much at the time, either. A lot of them kept reading, so hopefully Fifty Shades does the same thing. I completely agree with you. However, I will not read those books. But I’m not in danger of running out of books to read.. LOL.

    • See, that’s the beauty about it. It got you reading again! And I had to laugh at the running out of books bit. You are definitely not running out anytime soon. In fact, I foresee your TBR pile growing immensely in the near future.

  3. I so agree with you. No, I don’t think 50 Shades is a great book, but…it has opened up a gateway for other books in the genre. Books that would have never made it into WalMart in rural America. Books that are well-written and original. So in that respect, there are a few ppl who should be thankful that James wrote it.

  4. So true. I hadn’t read a book in over 10 years. Then my daughter told me I had to read Twilight. I did, I thought it was pretty good and decided to read other books. Amazing how one little book — no matter what it is — can change a person and open up the world of reading again.

  5. I have to agree with you there. You don’t have to like the books but respect the fact it got people reading. (Twilight is what got me back into reading.)

  6. I will admit that it was Twilight that got me reading again after many years away from fiction. I have a tendency to get slightly obsessed when I read and forget important things such as feeding the kids etc (don’t worry they are old enough now to fend for themselves somewhat) so I just avoided reading. I somehow ended up with a copy of Twilight and I was hooked.

    I read 50 Shades because I had to see what all of the fuss was about. Meh :/ I wasn’t overly impressed, but I totally agree with what Matt has said. If I listened to all of the people who were bagging Twilight I would never have read it. I have read over 400 books since September last year and it is in part thanks to Stephenie Meyer. I had never read PNR or Urban Fantasy (or whatever genre you want to stick the series in) and it opened a whole new reading experience up to me.

    • Based on just the comments on this post, I’d say Twilight was the catalyst that got a bunch of people either into reading, or reignited their passion for it. It’s nice to see that others do see the good side in all this. Hopefully the 50 shades novels will bring even more readers into our world. More readers is never a bad thing.

    • I just went out to dinner with 6 women (they are all Primary School teachers). All of them have read 50 Shades and all bar one said they hadn’t read a book from cover to cover in years until they read this trilogy. They have all gone on to read regularly since.
      Incidentally, the one woman who was already a regular reader said it was Twilight that got her back into reading!
      These are all women who know first hand how important reading is, yet it took these books to reignite their passion for books.

  7. I’m one of the Not-Gonna-Read-It Team when it comes to 50 Shades. Despite the content being unappealing, I was so disgusted by the excessive hype about the series. Excessive, paid for hype that was so over the top it created it’s own popularity. How else did that series succeed? Other than the risque topic matter that had women tittering at the water cooler while they admitted to reading something SO naughty.

    That’s why it left a horrible taste in my mouth and continues to do so. I sincerely hope Alexandar Skarsgard has the class and taste NOT to do the film if it was really offered to him.

    However, all that said, yes I think it’s great that people start reading again. Even if it was kick-started by such a tasteless, ridiculous set of books.

    Personally, I’ve loved losing myself in fantastic since I was a kid reading Piers Anthony and Anne McCaffrey. I currently read 3-5 books a week now. I love my Kindle! I’m on book 2 of Merrick’s series 🙂

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