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Libraries carry Fifty Shades of Grey but hard to find
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Readers seeking to get their hands on a copy of erotic best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey for summer reading will join the bottom of a long waiting list at the local library. The fictitious tale has topped the New York Times Best Seller list for 12 weeks, and even a quick trip to Target doesn't guarantee you will have a copy in time for vacation as retailers have had a difficult time keeping up with demand.

The first in a trilogy by first-time author E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey tells the tale of a dominant-submissive affair between a manipulative millionaire and a naïve younger woman. The explosive trilogy gathered unprecedented momentum and created a fire storm of controversy across the county, with libraries in three states, including some in Georgia, refusing to offer the books.

According to Daryl Fletcher, director of Conyers' Nancy Guinn Library, library officials here feel that they need to make it available. The local library has two copies in circulation but recently placed another order for two more, though the waiting list to check a copy out is months-long.

"What makes this one so interesting is the subject matter is controversial," Fletcher explained. "Beyond that, this is something that started as a self-published book, and all of a sudden went mainstream. It was an unusual title to start with. I think in the publishing industry we're going to see more of this, a self-published title not going through the traditional hoops."

Fletcher said the library's circulation staff is hearing about the books constantly. There were currently 82 copies of Fifty Shades of Grey within the 275-library Pines Library System, which is encompasses libraries in 140 Georgia counties. However, only two of those copies are currently available for checkout and neither of those is in the local library. Library cardholders can submit a form to request a copy, which can be shipped from other libraries in the system.

There are also 60 copies of the second book, Fifty Shades Darker, and 51 copies of the third book in the trilogy, Fifty Shades Free, throughout the Pines Library System.

The Pines online description of the first book states: "When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind -until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part time. Erotic, amusing and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever."

Target is the only big-box retailer in Conyers with Fifty Shades of Grey in stock. As of Thursday, there were nine copies of the book, which sells for $12.76.