Fifty Shades effect leads to boom in WH Smith sales as over 70s get to grips with the erotic novel

Fifty Shades effect leads to boom in WH Smith sales as over 70s get to grips with the erotic novel

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UPDATED:

18:17 GMT, 23 August 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey hasn't just been giving a boost to people's sex lives. Sales of the trilogy have also helped High
Street stationer WH Smith to increase earnings despite tough retail
conditions.

In a trading update, the retail group said 'the recent positive publishing schedule' had led to an improvement in their sales figures.

Fifty Shades has sold more than five million copies, making it the best-selling book in Britain since records began, and a raft of similarly racy books have proved popular in its wake.

Literary phenomenon: Sales of EL James' Fifty Shades trilogy have helped boost WH Smith's profits

Literary phenomenon: Sales of EL James' Fifty Shades trilogy have helped boost WH Smith's profits

Dubbed 'mummy porn', the erotic novel and its follow-ups Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed tells of the sadomasochistic affair between wealthy entrepreneur
Christian Grey and nave literature student Anastasia Steele.

The success of the books have made British writer EL James, whose real name is Erika Leonard, an estimated 6.5million.

The books have also increased the fortunes of WH Smith who announced today that their results for the year would be 'at the top end of market expectations' and return a further 50 million to shareholders.

WH Smith shares were 5 per cent or 28p higher at 610p this morning as investors applauded the positive trading bulletin.

Market expectations for pre-tax profits stood between 97m and 101m.

Positive news: The retailer said their results would be 'at the top end of market expectations' and return a further 50 million to shareholders

Positive news: The retailer said their results would be 'at the top end of market expectations' and return a further 50 million to shareholders

The profit margins have increased under
the helm of chief executive Kate Swann despite fewerer sales of CDs and
DVDs thanks to the popularity of books and stationery.

The company revealed that its near-600 stores in High Streets, airports, railway stations and motorway services were making good progress.

They hope to increase profits further by the end of the year with the recent launch of their Kobo e-reader, a rival to Amazon's Kindle.

Meanwhile a charity that provides audiobooks for those with poor eyesight has also experienced the Fifty Shades effect.

They have been inundated with requests for the trilogy, with the majority coming from women over the age of 70.

Calibre Audio Library has received hundreds of calls about the bestselling erotic novel and its sequels.

The charity has had to order extra audio copies of the Fifty Shades trilogy to cope with demand. The books are available on CDs and USB memory sticks.