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That’s the title of an article by David Sexton in the London Evening Standard:

One of the main uses of a Kindle, it turns out, is as a virtual brown paper bag.

Kindles and other digital readers allow you to carry smut that you’d be embarrassed to be seen with without anybody knowing what you’re up to. In particular, it allows women to do this as never before. Thus, by dematerialising books, digital readers have freed our choice of reading from social pressure.

The ever-expanding market for e-books — one in eight of adult fiction books is now purchased digitally — has begun to change what it is that people actually read in ways the publishers hadn’t anticipated and are now falling over themselves to catch up with. They’ve revealed there’s a big appetite out there for books that are simpler and coarser, in several genres but above all in smut, or, if you prefer, erotica. Amazon now cheerfully trades in titles such as Lucy Gives It Up For the Boss.

Writing that was previously mostly shared on fan-fiction sites or otherwise posted online can now easily be converted into an e-book — and if that then proves a success, the publishers of p-books, as they are now non-prejudicially known, are increasingly eager to follow suit, grabbing some of the action after the event.

That is what has happened to the market-leader of “mommy porn”, as it has been dismally labelled, E L James. The mother of two teenage boys and a former TV producer — she worked on Noel’s House Party — James began writing her erotic trilogy as fan fiction posted online, reimagining the Twilight books with sex scenes.


  1. I hate the “mommy porn” meme. Romance novels are *not* porn. Erotica titles are not porn. This has been discussed endlessly. In romance, the sex scenes are usually part of the character/relationship arc. In erotica, sex is the means for propelling the character arc forward. It’s all about the plot:sex ratio. Porn has very little (if any) plot or characterization – it’s all about the sex.

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