March 24, 2016

UK charity shop asks people to, please, stop donating copies of 50 Shades of Grey


To paraphrase that old joke (badly), take my Fifty Shades, please. If you’re getting ready for your big spring clean, charity shops in the UK will take your gently worn clothing, used linens, old records, spare kitchen utensils, scratched furniture, and outgrown children’s toys. But please, please, stop bringing them your old copies of Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. At least that’s the plea from one shop in Swansea:

According to Emine Saner at The Guardian:

With almost enough copies of Fifty Shades of Grey to build its own sex dungeon, a branch of Oxfam in Swansea has asked people to stop donating the erotic novel or any of its sequels. “We appreciate all your donations, but less Fifty Shades and more 60s and 70s vinyl would be good,” wrote Phil Broadhurst, the shop’s manager, in a post on Facebook.

Could the EL James “favorite” be overtaking longtime donation champion The Da Vinci Code? It might be too close to call. According to Saner:

For a while, Oxfam published a list of its most-donated authors; between 2009 and 2012, Dan Brown was top. Could EL James and her Fifty Shades have beaten the Da Vinci Code author? “I think Dan Brown is still pipping it, actually, but [Fifty Shades] is up there,” says David Taylor at the Oxfam bookshop in Salisbury. Copies of Fifty Shades there are sent to the local depot for redistribution to other shops; his branch doesn’t sell it. “It sounds snobby, but there are 10 charity shops in our street and you can buy it in any one of them,” he says. “There’s no point in us selling it.”

Coincidentally, in 2012, James also took over Dan Brown’s spot as the fastest growing adult author of all time. Weird coincidence, or…if only I could figure out this trend.



Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.