Icelanders Have Spent Millions On "Shades Of Grey" Franchise - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelanders Have Spent Millions On “Shades Of Grey” Franchise

Published March 11, 2015

Photos by
Mike Mozart/Creative Commons

Icelanders have spent about 87 million ISK on the Shades Of Grey books and movie. All three books in the series have been translated into Icelandic.

RÚV reports that about 20,000 copies of the three books in the series have been bought in Iceland, and that is only taking into account the Icelandic translation; an undisclosed number have bought the English versions. In addition, nearly 15,000 Icelanders – about five percent of the population – have seen the movie, spending some 17.3 million ISK on tickets in just the first four weeks that it has been in theatres here.

Egill Örn Jóhannsson, managing director of Forlagið, the series’ Icelandic publisher, told reporters that the first book in the series sold far better than the two which followed it. At a retail price of 3,490 ISK, total sales of the books have reached about 70 million ISK.

“It takes a lot for books to really sell well here,” he said. “This book series is intended for a specific audience, and that audience is tiny in Iceland. The more specific the intended audience, the less likely the book will reach a broader popularity.”

Not that every Icelander is fond of the series. As Fréttatíminn reported, the BDSM Society of Iceland in particular encouraged people to boycott the film, saying that it gave “a false image of what BDSM is”. At the same time, Guðrún Jónsdóttir, spokesperson for the women’s shelter Stígamót, told reporters she attempted to read the first book, but gave up on it.

“The popularity of this bad writing and the ideology behind should be examined better, in light of the fact that one in three Icelandic women have been subjected to violence in a relationship,” she said.

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