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Libraries see surge in erotic book borrowing

image copyrightSupplied by PLR
image captionInigo Bloom's Destined to Feel leads the erotic fiction charge

The borrowing of erotic fiction from UK public libraries has leapt by 500% over the past 12 months, in what is being called the "Fifty Shades" effect.

Last year's most popular erotic fiction title, Indigo Bloom's Destined to Feel, was borrowed almost 11,700 times.

The surge is attributed to EL James' bestselling novel, which took third place in the most borrowed titles list.

Yet none of the trilogy appears in the erotic fiction top 10 because the EL James books are classified as romance.

In 2011/12, the most borrowed erotic fiction title, Divine Misdemeanours by Laurell K Hamilton, was only borrowed 1,500 times - a fraction of the figure for Destined to Feel.

One suggestion for the increase is that automated library checkouts might be helping borrowers avoid any embarrassment when taking such books out.

Another is that the popular success of authors such as EL James has boosted the appeal of this type of fiction, meaning there is more of the genre and it has found a more mainstream readership.

The new Public Lending Right (PLR) charts reveal the most borrowed books and authors in UK libraries during 2012/13.

For the seventh year running, US crime author James Patterson retains his crown as the most borrowed author in UK libraries.

Children's authors dominate the top 10, with six children's authors on the list including Jacqueline Wilson, Julia Donaldson and Mick Inkpen.

Lee Child's The Affair is the most borrowed title over the past 12 months, just ahead of A Wanted Man, also by Child.

Hilary Mantel becomes the first Booker winner to make the top 10 since PLR records began 20 years ago, with Bring Up the Bodies cited as the eighth most borrowed book.

However, US romance writer Danielle Steel dropped out of the top 10 most borrowed adult fiction authors list for the first time since comprehensive PLR records began in 1988/89.

Public Lending Right - funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) - was established in law in 1979.

All lending income goes directly to the author, with a maximum payment threshold of £6,600 for the top-lending authors.

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  • Literature

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