50 Shades of Grey Is Killing Paper Books

By Jon Partridge on at

Ah, 50 Shades of Grey, we meet again. But not in the guise of a paperback book. Not even hardback. No, we meet yet again in the form of a digital Kindle book, and how you are killing physical books.

Amazon has revealed that in the UK, it is selling 114 e-books to every 100 physically printed hardback or paperback, and with 50 Shades of Grey leading the charge, author EL James has taken up the top spot in the Kindle store with over two million e-books sold in just four months. Her print and Kindle sales combined make her the bestselling author of all time at Amazon.co.uk; she's even has eclipsed even JK Rowling's total sales. Not bad for a tale of sexy filth.

Kindle owners are also reading a lot more, as they are buying four times the amount of books prior to owning a Kindle, meaning the whole 50 Shades trilogy is getting bought digitally, rather than physically, and read on the sly.

Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of Kindle EU said:

“Customers in the UK are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books, even as our print business continues to grow. We hit this milestone in the US less than four years after introducing Kindle, so to reach this landmark after just two years in the UK is remarkable and shows how quickly UK readers are embracing Kindle.”


“As a result of the success of Kindle, we’re selling more books than ever before on behalf of authors and publishers. And thanks to Kindle Direct Publishing, thousands of self-published authors have also been given an outlet to share their work with the millions of Kindle readers worldwide.”

It's not quite all doom and gloom for all printed books though -- Amazon claims that Kindle owners are still buying physical books as well. But it definitely looks like e-books are leading the charge, as e-readers get cheaper and more accessible for everyone, meaning that the days are numbered for mass-market printed books.