Titillating bestseller lands modest English hotel in the news
When I read the USA Today headline, British Hotel Replaces Bibles With ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ I imagined the mega-stink that would be raised if a hotel in the US — even a modest 40-room establishment — were to do the same thing. The paper quoted a blog post by hotel owner, Jonathan Denby, and it is only one of several international newspaper and broadcast reports on the topic:
“Tonight millions of women will be curling up in bed with a good book and you can bet your life it won’t be the Bible. More likely than not it will be Fifty Shades of Grey. I haven’t read the book yet – I’m not in the target audience – but I’m told it’s a ripping good yarn and everyone who’s in the target audience loves it. This made me wonder about the sense of providing a book, the Gideon Bible which noone reads, and many dislike, in the bedside cabinet of our hotel bedrooms, instead of a book which everyone wants to read, such as Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The Damson Dene Hotel certainly is not a no-tell motel in a questionable area. It is an award-winning charmer in the village of Crosthwaite near Bowness-on-Windermere in the lovely Lake District. I have no idea whether Denby did this for his guests or for the publicity inherent in the audacious move. The local vicar denounced the switch as a gimmick, and Denby told NBC that he has received admonitions from America.”People in the States feel much more strongly. We’ve had quite a few e-mails quoting the scriptures to us and suggesting that it would be a good thing to put the Bible back.” The American admonishers presumably don’t tend to quote Matthew 7:1-5: “Judge not lest ye be judged.” For the record, Denby says that Bibles are still available from the reception desk.
For my part, I don’t much care what people read, and it strikes me that Denby was pretty clever, no matter what his initial motivation might have been. I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, though I sure wish I had written it. Author E.L. James (a Brit BTW) has reportedly earned $50 million. So far.