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Thanks to mommy porn, e-book lending is on the rise

Posted By Dan Eldridge On February 23, 2013 @ 10:43 am In Around the World,ebook,library | 6 Comments

Bedded By The Greek Billionaire [1]It’s certainly not news that the rising tide of books in the so-called “mommy porn” genre are driving sales of e-books like nothing else that has come before them.

But a recent article [2] in Ireland’s Belfast Telegraph explains that erotic fiction is resulting in many more e-book library loans, too. In one Irish community, according to the article, e-book library loans rose “from 16,231 in 2011 to 19,847 in 2012.”

And what was the area’s most popular library e-book in 2012? A steamy Harlequin romance by India Grey, titled At The Argentinean Billionaire’s Bidding [3].

Another Harelquin, Kate Walker’s Bedded by the Greek Billionaire [4], was the second most-borrowed e-book, with Barbara Dunlop’s Beauty And The Billionaire [5] bringing up the rear (sorry) in third place. ”Romance novels are a guilty pleasure for some,” says Helyn Clack, the community services cabinet member for the community in question. “And they like the fact you can’t judge an e-reader by its cover.”

Mai Teaches Health and Physical education: A Sex Encyclopedia for Men [6]True enough. And I have to admit, I wasn’t terribly surprised when a simple Google search turned up a similar article [7] about actual e-book sales in Japan. Published on a site called Rocket News 24, this particular article, which ran in mid-December 2012, starts out by explaining that e-books and e-readers still aren’t particularly popular in the Land of the Rising Sun—with one exception: e-books containing “… cheap, trashy or sexual content.” As this article claims, “the majority of Japan’s e-book market is comprised of distinctly low-brow, often sexual, content.”

Take a look at this claim, from the same story:

“At the end of the fiscal year 2011 the Japanese digital publishing market was worth approximately 7.5 million US dollars; a figure that is in itself 3.2% lower than that of the previous year. Of this $7.5 million, sales of BL [boys' love] and TL [teen love] content make up an incredible 80%. In other words, $6 million was spent in one year on erotic manga contents.”

The mainstream media, by the way, is full-to-overflowing with news stories of the same ilk: “Nook ereaders and erotic fiction help B&N,” says this Financial Times story [8]. “50 Shades of Grey puts ebooks in the black,” claims this item [9] from Canada’s Toronto Star. My personal favorite, however, is a piece from Business Insider [10], “Discrete EBooks Have Unlocked A Huge Erotic Fiction Market, which features a photo of book rack filled with porn novels and a caption that reads, “No need to look like a pervert!”

[11]

Tim Berners-Lee

Of course, considering that e-books are still a relatively new technology—at least in the grand scheme of technological progress—I’m not sure I’d be willing to make any grand proclamations about what this particular retail trend means. After all, let’s not forget what Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee once said [12] about the subject:

“Legend has it that every new technology is first used for something related to sex or pornography. That seems to be the way of humankind.”


6 Comments (Open | Close)

6 Comments To "Thanks to mommy porn, e-book lending is on the rise"

#1 Comment By Jason On February 23, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

It comes as no surprise. Just from the sheer tonnage of smut available.

On a similar note, my wife really enjoyed reading the 50 Shades trilogy. *Barf* Maybe it’s just my bias (having balls that is), but these types of books never seem to be of the high quality sort. Then again maybe that’s just the nature of the beast. Porn doesn’t necessarily have to be high quality to be enjoyed.

#2 Comment By Dan Eldridge On February 23, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

Hey Jason, thanks for the note. And you know, I’ve got to say, I personally think it’s a wonderful thing that–thanks to e-books, e-reading devices and the beauty of online retail–women can now anonymously enjoy the sort of content they might otherwise be embarrassed to be seen purchasing and/or reading. That’s definitely healthy, and I think it’s something we need to bear in mind when we discuss all these derivative 50 Shades books.

Because as sad and unfortunate and screwed-up as it may be, the truth of the matter is that–in the United States, at least–women simply can’t be open and honest about their sexuality without paying what is often a very high price (i.e., public humiliation, social exclusion, etc.) That’s just a reality here, and it probably won’t be changing anytime soon. So if the digital publishing industry is making it easier for women to sidestep that reality, even in small ways … well, I don’t think it really matters how poorly written the books are–it’s a good thing.

#3 Comment By Juli Monroe On February 23, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

@Jason, have you ever read erotica aimed at men? Not the highest quality there, either, I’m afraid.

And I agree with you, Dan. As long as there’s a market (and there obviously is), it should be available and accessible. Not like I can take a high road anyway. I just had a short story accepted in a “sensual erotica” anthology. That was an interesting writing challenge!

#4 Comment By Jason On February 23, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

I have no problem with that, people should be free to read what they wish. Of course the debate may take on a different light if the same anonymity is enjoyed by children. As far as I know that particular genre doesn’t come with a parental guidance or 18+ type rating. It may be the parents role as to what their kids read, but ereaders will indeed make that task more difficult.

#5 Comment By Juli Monroe On February 23, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

Don’t forget that some e-readers now come with basic parental controls, which does help alleviate some of the problem. If a parent is concerned about it, he/she can buy a device with controls. It’s not a perfect solution, but some of the manufacturers recognize the problem and are offering an option.

#6 Comment By Jason On February 23, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

Parental controls. Never thought of that. Good point.


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URL to article: http://www.teleread.com/ebooks/e-book-library-lending-is-on-the-rise-thanks-to-mommy-porn/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.teleread.com/ebooks/e-book-library-lending-is-on-the-rise-thanks-to-mommy-porn/attachment/bedded-by-the-greek-billionaire/

[2] a recent article: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breakingnews/offbeat/erotic-fiction-hikes-ebook-loans-29081363.html

[3] At The Argentinean Billionaire’s Bidding: http://www.amazon.com/Argentinean-Billionaires-Harlequin-Presents-ebook/dp/B001UFP5LS/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

[4] Bedded by the Greek Billionaire: http://www.amazon.com/Bedded-Greek-Billionaire-Tycoons-ebook/dp/B001J1S7P4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1361631527&sr=1-1&keywords=Bedded+By+The+Greek+Billionaire

[5] Beauty And The Billionaire: http://www.amazon.com/Beauty-Billionaire-Silhouette-Desire-ebook/dp/B00134D6T4/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1361631563&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=Beauty+And+The+Billionair

[6] Image: http://www.teleread.com/ebooks/e-book-library-lending-is-on-the-rise-thanks-to-mommy-porn/attachment/kindle-best-seller/

[7] a similar article: http://en.rocketnews24.com/2012/12/17/erotic-content-and-cheap-throwaway-titles-driving-e-book-sales-in-japan-an-industry-insider-speaks-out/

[8] this Financial Times story: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/672fc166-eb86-11e1-9356-00144feab49a.html#axzz2LjfdUyVC

[9] this item: http://www.thestar.com/business/2013/01/01/50_shades_of_grey_puts_ebooks_in_the_black.html

[10] a piece from Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/discrete-ebooks-have-unlocked-a-huge-erotic-fiction-market-2012-10

[11] Image: http://www.teleread.com/ebooks/e-book-library-lending-is-on-the-rise-thanks-to-mommy-porn/attachment/tim-berners-lee_2/

[12] what Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee once said: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2005/aug/12/uknews.onlinesupplement

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