As Anastasia Steele would say, “Holy crap!” E L James, the doyenne of erotic Twilight fan-fiction, reportedly earns $1.34 million per week, which breaks down to around $191,000 per day. That’s not quite Christian Grey money, but James is getting close. Gawker crunched the numbers here:
++ E.L. James earns 7% royalty on every $14 paperback and 25% royalty on every $10 ebook sold.
++ Last month 4 million paperbacks and 1 million ebooks were sold.
Who knows if the numbers are exactly right, but it’s been obvious for a while that the enormous success of Fifty Shades of Grey is not a flash in the pan but an ongoing phenomenon that won’t go away any time soon — even if you’re one of the people who wish it would. To put things in perspective, Stieg Larsson’s hugely best-selling Dragon Tattoo series — another adult trilogy published by Random House — has sold 20 million copies in the U.S., including e-book copies, as of April of this year. The Fifty Shades trilogy has only been out in paperback since April of this year and has sold nearly 7.4 million copies, not including digital, in the U.S. alone.
Here is EW’s rundown of sales of other blockbuster series:
Harry Potter: 150 million copies*
The Twilight Saga: 75 million copies
The Hunger Games series: 36.5 million copies
The Millennium series (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo et al): 20 million copies
*Number of copies in print in the U.S.
Like it or not, Fifty Shades will probably be joining these ranks soon, especially once the movie comes out. E L James as a multi-millionaire: inspiring success story or sign of the apocalypse?
Follow Stephan on Twitter: @EWStephanLee