Looking to borrow a copy of the erotic thriller, Fifty Shades of Grey, the book at the top of the New York Times Best Seller List?
Expect a long, long wait for the book at most Maryland area libraries, including Montgomery County, with 805 hold requests as of Thursday. And expect a few libraries to ban the book, which recently sold its 10 millionth copy, entirely from their shelves.
Harford County Public Libraries are declining to offer the book by author E.L. James, or the entire trilogy for that matter, reports ExploreHarford.com, with one librarian calling the book “pornography."
"In the case of '50 Shades of Grey,' we read mainstream reviews that characterized the content as pornography," Jennifer Ralston, HCPL materials management administrator, wrote in an e-mail to Explore Harford Tuesday. "The library does not purchase pornography, and we therefore did not purchase the book."
Here's how "Rachel" a married lawyer from New Jersey who declined to give her last name to ABC News, described her reactions to the book:
"I loved the book -- all three," Rachel told ABC News. "But this is pretty hard-core porn. ... The first book is very, very graphic and harsh with a lot of S & M – and quite frankly, did not do it for me. I would never try anything with pain."
Fifty Shades of Grey, which has also been referred to as “mommy-porn” is offered at most other county libraries in the region, including Howard, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Montgomery and Baltimore counties, according to a Patch review of online library records.
And the book is on hold at each of the libraries, according to the Patch review.
Get daily and breaking news email updates from North Potomac-Darnestown Patch by signing up for newsletters here.
Baltimore County, for example, has 1,160 requests for the book, which is part of a trilogy, and is about a relationship between a graduating college student and her rich lover who dabbles in erotic sexual games.
That is the most requests for a book in recent memory in the Baltimore County Public Library system, said Jamie Watson, collection development coordinator.
Watson said the library received its first request for the book in February or March, when it was then self-published and there was only limited availability on Amazon.
A small Australian press originally published the novels, which went viral. The rights to the books were then purchased by Vintage Books, ABC News reported. There is also a movie in the works.
From February, the popularity has grown at a constant rate for Baltimore County readers—even more so than the Twilight and Harry Potter books, where popularity ebbed and flowed, Watson said.
“With this, from the moment it hit when we couldn’t get copies, the holds grew and grew and grew, and there’s no tapering off,” she said. Over the course of time [other] books may have more holds, but none this hard all at once. We had 100 more holds this week than last week.”
In Montgomery County's library systems collection manager, Mary Louise Daneri, says the build came more slowly but has grown steadily. It wasn't until author E.L. James visited the Bethesda Barnes & Noble location that the book's popularity really picked up, Daneri said.
"Harry Potter was bigger. This one has caught on, but it started slowly," Daneri said. "In Bethesda it was just jam packed. It’s been word of mouth and the media that has moved it along since."
Baltimore and Montgomery Counties will continue to offer the book, even though it’s controversial, they said.
“With this, someone might find it controversial--what I know is over 1,000 people want to read it, and that’s a big chunk of people,” she said. “We serve all the citizens of Baltimore County. There are certainly things in any library that some people are going to like reading and other people aren’t going to like reading.”
Weigh in below: Should libraries offer "Fifty Shades of Grey?"