Fort Bend libraries won't carry '50 Shades of Grey'

May 23, 2012 10:00:00 PM PDT
A racy book that's become the talk of the town for many female readers is being kept out of one local library system.

Despite its high demand across the country, Fort Bend County 's public libraries will not stock "50 Shades of Grey."

The best seller has been at the center of controversy as it's risen to popularity over the last year, but Fort Bend County says it has its reasons for keeping the book off the shelves.

It's a book that has girlfriends talking and librarians having to decide whether to carry on shelves or not. And here in the greater Houston area, there are some places you can find it and some places you can't.

You'd likely find the No. 1 New York Times best seller in the erotic fiction section of a bookstore or library. But depending on which public library you frequent in the greater Houston area, it may not be in any section at all.

"Oh definitely. If you look at our catalog, on the three titles on all the formats that we have, there's probably 2,000 people waiting in line," said Linda Stevens with the Harris County Public Library System.

"The reviews weren't good. They said the book was very poorly written and we passed. We just decided that it was not a book that we needed," said Joyce Kennerly with Fort Bend County Libraries.

The author, E.L. James, set the book in Seattle, and the first installment depicts an intensifying relationship between Anastasia Steele, a college graduate, and Christian Grey, a young successful businessman.

The novel reveals explicitly erotic scenes featuring dominance and submission. Ten million copies have been sold.

However, in the 10 libraries of the Fort Bend County public library system, you won't find it. The administration says the book's erotic nature is not the reason.

"No, I can't say that. The decision was based, again, on the professional media, that this simply was not a well-written book. It just wasn't something we felt we needed to add to our collection," Kennerly sad.

And Kennerly is correct; the novel has been criticized by some for lack of prose.

However, patron demand was factored into the decision to carry it within the Harris County Public Library System, where the best seller has a long waiting list.

"Even if there were only negative reviews on this one, that's probably the case with a lot of popular fiction that we all have in our collection -- it's not just his book. Sometimes, the public doesn't agree with the reviewers," Stevens said.

There is a process, if someone wants Harris County to reconsider a selection, but so far, no one has requested the book be pulled.

In Fort Bend, the administration says if demand increases in their county, the library system may give it a second evaluation.


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