Libraries and bookstores are struggling to cope with demand for an erotic novel described as "mummy pornography".

Requests for E.L. James' lewd first novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, have left Auckland Libraries with a waiting list of 1097 people requesting just 117 copies of the book.

The novel, along with the second and third volumes Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, vividly details a dominant-submissive affair between virginal college graduate Anastasia Steele and manipulative billionaire Christian Grey. It has been banned in some United States libraries for its explicit sexual content.

Yvonne Thynne, publicity manager at publisher Random House NZ, said there had been at least six reprints of the trilogy, and sales were estimated at 90,000 copies.


"It's exceptional considering the book has only been on sale since April. It's pretty amazing really."

Critics have panned the novels as poorly written, but Fifty Shades of Grey has topped bestseller lists in the United States and Britain and is the number one seller in New Zealand, according to Nielsen BookScan.

A spokeswoman from Auckland Libraries said more copies had been ordered since the novel was first released.

"One thousand holds is actually really good for an adult book, usually a really popular adult fiction book is around 300 holds. So its three times that at least."