50 Shades of Red

Blush much? Doing RA for erotica can be a challenge. Especially when the patron doesn’t know that this is what she’s asking for. 50 Shades of Grey by E.L James  is popular right now because it’s popular. You have patrons lining up to get put on the waiting list who have no idea that they’re about to take a book about sadomasochism to soccer practice. None. So before you start handselling your library’s locked stacks copy of “The Story of O,” take a minute to find out what else your patron usually reads.  (If you think the content of this current bestseller might come as an unwelcome surprise, help a sister out. It’s not bad customer service to say, “I’m happy to put you on the waiting list. This book really came out of nowhere, didn’t it? I can’t remember the last time a book this overtly sexual hit the mainstream.” She’ll thank you. Shyly. But, she’ll thank you.) Now, if it turns out that she’s a fan of the steamy softcover, try these read-alikes.

  • Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
  • Too Much Temptation by Lori Foster
  • My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday
  • Surrender to Fire by Lora Leigh
  • Nine and Half Weeks by Elizabeth McNeill
  • In the Cut by Susanna Moore
  • Topping From Below by Laura Reese
  • The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
  • The Lady’s Tutor by Robin Schone




About the Author:

Karen Kleckner Keefe is the director of the Hinsdale (IL) Public Library, a Booklist reviewer, and one of Library Journal's 2009 "Movers and Shakers." Follow her on Twitter at @KarenKleckner.

3 Comments on "50 Shades of Red"

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  1. gerardsaylor@hotmail.com' Gerard Saylor says:

    Lori Armstorng writes erotic novels under the pen name Lorelei James. They circ’ pretty well and have plenty of explicit sex.

    Armstrong spoke with me at Bouchercon this past Fall and she said her James novels sell the best. I do not recall if she said her eBook versions do better than paper.

  2. mmitchell@franklinparklibrary.org' Michelle Mitchell says:

    Lora Leigh is one of the most read authors at our library. We can’t seem to keep her books on our shelves.

  3. laurel.m.hall@gmail.com' Laurel H says:

    Well said. I strongly recommend going with your gut (and/or the evidence) on whether a patron really wants to read it, or has just heard the title often enough to be curious. I had a patron who was checking out Amish romances, and asked to be put on the hold list for 50 Shades. Thankfully, another patron overheard, and asked what it was about. All I had to say was, “It’s an erotic novel…” and she exclaimed “OH! I don’t want THAT!”

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