You wouldn’t think anything would be too hot for Florida but evidently the bestselling erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” is too hot for some Florida libraries. Some Georgia and Wisconsin libraries have also followed suit and banned the book in some of their public libraries. According to Florida Today the Brevard County Public Library system has removed copies of the book from its 17 libraries. They claim they bought some copies before they realized what the book was about. Hmm…I wonder if they thought to ask the public, who supports the public library through their taxes and fees, if the public wants the library services director removing books the public evidently wants to read, judging by the huge waiting lists of general public for the book at libraries all over the country.
Brevard County libraries had a waiting list of 200 people waiting for the book. The people waiting for “Fifty Shades of Grey” were sent notices telling them sorry, the book has been pulled from the shelves. I imagine some of those waiting even had gray hair, what with the population of Florida and all. Some may have even read Lolita, The Kama Sutra and even The Tropic of Cancer. All considered rather racy, and all can be loaned out from the Brevard County Public Library. Imagine that. Librarians in at least four Florida counties have declined to buy the book even though hundreds of people have asked for it because they claim they either don’t have the money to purchase them, or the reviews of the book have been poor or the book doesn’t suit their community standards. I love the community standards reasoning, as if the public library is in charge of setting the standards for what the community can read, rather than the community setting the standards for what they want to read. The book isn’t for everyone but I thought book censorship was dead. I’m much more interested in the backstory of how it became the “it” book for millions of readers.
The “Fifty Shades” books are actually a trilogy of three books. They are books about bondage, sex, love and they even have a plot. They have sold over three million books so far and are in the first three spots on Amazon’s best seller list and the top three spots on the New York Times best-selling books list. I think it is a snooty attitude by some libraries because the books were self-published originally as an e-book by the author. Some book snobs think if a book wasn’t traditionally published by one of the big six publishing houses then they must be lesser-than, regardless of content. But author E.L. James published her e-book herself and it became so popular through word-of-mouth that publishers came calling after the fact and so did Hollywood with a movie deal.
I could care less what the content is, anytime someone takes their writing into their own hands and doesn’t wait around for some publisher to accept it or reject it, and tell her to change it and pays her a small advance against royalties and then takes forever to even print the damn thing, I commend her. This is what publishing should be, where the writer/creator has the control and the masses push it to the top. Big time publishing houses have been asleep at the wheel for quite a while now. Thanks to e-readers, self publishing, indie publishers and the little writers that could–they are rising to the top of the publishing food chain. Thank God.