Last week I wrote a post, purely based on my own observations, of an emerging trend I had noticed on Facebook – namely that the majority of the posts I see from people promoting their own books are of the erotic fiction genre. Coincidentally I then saw this article today about a surge in people borrowing erotic fiction from libraries, which has increased by 500% over the last 12 months. The top title, Destined to Feel, was borrowed almost 11,700 times. I had previously wondered whether the amount of erotic fiction I was seeing on Facebook was because more novels of this genre were being written, or because erotic fiction has just become more visible/popular. This article attributes this rise to several such factors:
1. Automated library checkouts might help borrowers avoid any embarrassment.
2. The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey has boosted the appeal of erotic fiction (the “Fifty Shades Effect”).
3. More people are writing erotic fiction, meaning more titles to choose from.
4. Erotic fiction has found a more mainstream audience.
However, while Fifty Shades of Grey is currently the third most borrowed title, it doesn’t make it into the erotic fiction chart because it is technically classed as romance (doesn’t sound very romantic to me, but whatever.). It is interesting to think that one book can so drastically change library borrowing patterns in this way, becoming as influential as long standing authors like Danielle Steele and James Patterson. It is also a testament to the rise of ebooks and self publishing – unknown authors have more of an opportunity to be noticed via these mediums, leading to new, unexpected trends.
Having read a free sample of Fifty Shades on my Kindle, however, I can safely say I won’t be borrowing it myself.