Bookmarks: Fifty Shades of Grey court case and other news

Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey will be delighted to know that despite the vocal ferocity of its detractors, their favourite book is still dominating the bestseller lists. In the Australian market*, Fifty Shades editions are currently positioned at #3 (the film tie-in) and at #8 (Fifty Shades Darker). In the US**, the book takes up three of the top ten spots, featuring at #5 (Fifty Shades Darker), #8 (Book 1 of the trilogy) and #10 (Fifty Shades Freed). There is no disputing the popularity and financial success of the series.

The phenomenon that is Fifty Shades is not without controversy, however, and I am not talking about the sex scenes. Tales featuring financial disputes are almost always more sordid than sex stories and this is no exception. Last week Reuters reported that a US jury ruled that Australian Amanda Hayward defrauded American Jennifer Lynn Pedroza over royalty rights to the Fifty Shades of Grey series.

Hayward and Pedroza were two of the four original partners in The Writer’s Coffee Shop (TWCS), the independent publisher that first published the series as ebooks. TWCS then sold the publishing rights to Random House and the books became a worldwide phenomenon. The jury found that Hayward and TWCS had committed fraud when they ‘induced Ms. Pedroza into a Service Agreement’ that cut Pedroza out of her share of royalties. Damages will be assessed at a later court hearing after an audit determines Pedroza’s share of royalties. She sued for 25% of the profits. To date, the series of Fifty Shades of Grey titles have sold more than 100 million copies. One wonders whether the court ruling will encourage the other original partners to follow suit in seeking a share of the profits.

Covers of Fireborn and Rock Hard

In happier news, Melbournian Keri Arthur has been shortlisted for a prestigious Aurealis Award. Fireborn (Souls of Fire series) is in the running for Fantasy Novel of 2014. Good luck Keri; we’re crossing our fingers and toes on your behalf!

To close, Nalini Singh’s March release Rock Hard received a must-read romance review from Lea Franczek on USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog. Lea says, ‘In a way, Rock Hard is a Cinderella story. There is no evil stepmother, but there is a monster in Charlotte’s past, and she is imprisoned by her fears. Gabriel is the Prince Charming who helps her heal and enjoy life again. Rock Hard is emotional, sensual and packed full of witty dialogue, making for darn good fun! (and the chapter titles are a hoot!)’. You can read the full review at Happy Ever After.

For more reviews of Australian romance authors, follow AusRomToday and/or sign up with the Australian Romance Readers Association.


* WBN / Nielsen Bookscan

** Publishers’ Weekly


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