KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28, 2015: The banning of erotica novel trilogy Fifty Shades has little impact on bookshop chains as some had pulled the books out of their shelves way before the Home Ministry issued the directive. Mohamad Shah Amyrul, supervisor of Bangsar Shopping Centre’s Times Bookstore, told The Rakyat Post that the store had stopped the sale of the controversial yet highly popular book as it was “outdated”, with the last of the trilogy published over a-year-and-a-half ago. “We’ve sold all the copies we had and the ones left were returned to the supplier. Since then we haven’t ordered any new ones, hence the ban on the book does not affect us at all.” A supervisor with Mid Valley’s MPH bookstore on the other hand took pre-emptive measures when he, under the order of the chain’s management, stopped selling the three-volume-series the moment its movie adaptation was banned by the Malaysian Film Censorship Board. “The authorities came up with the decision and it is not our place to question it.
“Before the movie was released, we ordered a whole bunch of new stocks knowing that it would bum up sales of the book, especially from our customers who have yet to read the trilogy. “But when it was banned, we decided to just return the books to the supplier,” said the supervisor who spoke on condition of anonymity. According to Ikmal, a supervisor with Borders Tropicana City Mall, the ban did not affect retailers as bookshop owners were allowed to return any unsold books to the suppliers with a full refund. “What we’ll do is send the books back. We won’t incur any losses in any way. It really is not that much of a hassle as this has been the practice of every bookstore all this while anyway.” Checks by The Rakyat Post at these stores, including Paradigm’s Popular bookstore chain, showed that the book was no longer available, even when requested. Notice of the ban came three years after the trilogy began to be sold in the Malaysian market.
A federal gazette order issued by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi stated that the books were prohibited because they were likely to be “prejudicial to morality”. The three E.L James book, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, chronicle the bizarre relationship between a female student, Anastasia Steele, and a young billionaire, Christian Grey. Apart from banning the sale of the books, the government has also prohibited the importation, reproduction and possession of the books. The ban comes under the Printing Presses and Publications (Control of Undesirable Publications) Order 2015 and is dated Feb 24. The ministry’s order comes after the Film Censorship Board (LPF) banned the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, as it reportedly contained unnatural and “sadistic” sex scenes, including ones involving a woman being bound and whipped.