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'Fifty Shades of Grey' comes to China via pirated copies

'Fifty Shades of Grey,' having conquered the British and American book markets, has now arrived in China. But readers are discovering the book through pirated copies.

By Staff Writer / May 15, 2013

'Fifty Shades of Grey' was initially translated into Chinese for the market in Taiwan.


America and Europe’s favorite erotic novel has hit China. According to the New York Daily News, pirated copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey” by EL James have become available in the country.

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At least 400 sellers are making the book available via Taobao, a Chinese shopping website, according to the Telegraph. The book had already been translated into Chinese for the market in Taiwan. But given China's strict censorship laws, only contraband copies are available in the country.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Multi-Resource bookstore in China said the book was still under the radar in Chinese culture.

“Not many people know about it yet,” the spokesperson told the Telegraph. “There has been no publicity, so it is only a cult book at the moment.”

However, the spokesperson said that not all Chinese readers have been won over by the British bestseller.

“Most of the feedback we get is that it is very repetitive,” the spokesperson said.

(This isn't a new complaint, judging by reviews left by English-language readers on the website Goodreads and in Amazon's comments section. Amazon user DS from LA, for instance, wrote that "I'm convinced the author has a computer macro that she hits to insert one of her limited repertoire of facial expressions whenever she needs one.")

According to the Telegraph, the book is being printed in Guangzhou after copies arrive from Taiwan.

Hollywood is also working to win over Chinese audiences. The movie “Iron Man 3” recently broke an opening-day record in the country, though ticket sales have since slowed down. But it’s a fair bet that the planned movie adaptation of “Grey” won’t be allowed in Chinese theaters, even if some of the country’s citizens have already read the book.


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