WHILE some parts of the country have been getting all hot under the collar reading erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, it seems East Lancashire people would prefer to settle down with a ‘whodunnit’. Jessica Cree reports

STEAMY novel Fifty Shades of Grey has proved to be the publishing sensation of the century so far.

But while it has been flying off the shelves of libraries across the country it would seem East Lancashire folk have slightly different tastes when it comes to reading material.

According to market research company Nielson, which surveyed more than half of local authority library services in Britain, the first book in EL James’s triology has proved incredibly popular in the home counties.

In fact, Surrey residents accounted for around one fifth of all library borrowing of the book, which follows college student Anastasia as she starts a relationship with the mysterious millionaire Christian Grey.

But in Blackburn with Darwen, the saucy novel had been taken out just 182 times between May and November last year — representing less than 1 percent of the total adult fiction lending.

In fact readers in the borough were more partial to a good thriller, with The Sixth Man, Innocent and Deliver us From Evil, all by American writer David Baldacci, taking the top three spots for the most lent book during 2012.

During the same period, Fifty Shades was 14th on the list of most popular loans in the authority.

In libraries managed by Lancashire County Council, where there are 114 copies of Fifty Shades of Grey spread across 74 libraries. Demand appeared to be a bit stronger than in Blackburn, and at its peak there were 300 people were on the waiting list to borrow the first installment, with the book being loaned 1,799.

The most popular book of 2012 was the Malkin Child, a book by Livi Michael specially commissioned to mark the 400th anniversary of the Pendle Witches.

It was loaned 6,129 and was followed in popularity by thriller writer James Patterson’s Kill Me if You Can.

Victoria Haworth, district manager for Hyndburn Libraries, said: “In terms of best sellers, Fifty Shades has not gone out as much as other bestsellers might.

“Because of the recession, people are coming to the library perhaps because they can’t afford to buy books.

“People are still going to libraries, we are a free resource.”

She added that Fifty Shades had also proved popular and it was not just your average female reader who was indulging in the so-called ‘mummy porn’.

She said: “I was at the library in Rishton and a gentleman had just returned it.

“He said he had borrowed it for his wife but that he had read a few chapters.

“And it is not even a particular age group who are reading it.

“It is just a passionate love story, although I have to confess I have not read it.

“I have had a look at it and it is not my cup of tea.”