Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2011 erotic romance novel by British author E. L. James. It became the first instalment in the Fifty Shades novel series that follows the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving BDSM (bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism). Originally self-published as an ebook and print-on-demand in June 2011, the publishing rights to the novel were acquired by Vintage Books in March 2012.
Fifty Shades of Grey has topped best-seller lists around the world, selling over 125 million copies worldwide by June 2015. It has been translated into 52 languages, and set a record in the United Kingdom as the fastest-selling paperback of all time. Critical reception of the book, however, has tended towards the negative, with the quality of its prose generally seen as poor. Universal Pictures and Focus Features produced an American film adaptation, which was released on 13 February 2015, and also received unfavourable reviews even though it was a box office success.
The second and third volumes of the original trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, were published in 2012. A version of the novel from Christian's point of view, Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, was published in June 2015 as the fourth book. Darker: Fifty Shades Darker as Told by Christian, published in November 2017, is the fifth book in the series.