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James says she's "returning to her indie roots" with new Sourcebooks imprint.

By Maureen Lee Lenker
February 26, 2021 at 06:29 PM EST
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The rest of the publishing world should be fifty shades of envious.

On Friday, Sourcebooks announced that they are launching a new imprint with E.L. James. What's more, the author behind the hit Fifty Shades trilogy and The Mister is bringing her entire publishing catalog with her.

That includes the Fifty Shades erotic novel series, which has sold over 150 million copies worldwide. Beginning March 31, 2021, James' books will be distributed by Sourcebooks, moving from her previous home of Vintage, an imprint of Knopf Doubleday.

"I'm thrilled to be joining the Sourcebooks family," James said in a statement. "It feels like I'm coming home — returning to my indie roots, and working with an innovative, dynamic, and hugely successful publisher who's always up for new ventures. It's an honor to be part of an imprint dedicated to amplifying creative women's voices."

Sourcebooks is mum on the price tag for the deal, but James' novels are among the top-selling books in America for the past decade. James' net worth has been valued in the hundreds of millions, and her books account for a significant chunk of that, making this a financial feather in Sourcebooks' cap.

E L James
Romance author E.L. James
| Credit: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

The new imprint is said to focus on entrepreneurial female authors, those in the vein of James herself who have taken a more hands-on approach to their publishing journey (James famously got her start writing fanfic). The imprint will allow an unconventional approach that will enable established entrepreneurial authors to take greater control over the creation, development, and marketing of their books.

"I'm so thrilled to be working with Erika! And it is amazing that she and all of her backlist will be joining Sourcebooks," said Dominique Raccah, Sourcebooks Publisher and CEO, in a statement. "We share a belief in women taking and keeping control of their own narrative. It's so exciting to be embarking on this journey, disrupting the industry by empowering women authors who have long deserved this opportunity."

Sourcebooks is an independent publisher, but Penguin Random House holds a 45 percent stake as a collaborative investor.

The new imprint does not yet have a name, but Sourcebooks plans to work with consumers and influencers to develop one, centering readers in the process.

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