Sulphur Springs will be colored Grey on Saturday.
E.L. James, author of erotic romance novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” will be appearing in an intimate, sold-out book-signing Saturday at The Bookworm Box on Main Street.
The signing event comes just one day after James’ highly anticipated fourth book in the “Fifty Shades” series — entitled “Grey” and told from protagonist Christian Grey’s point of view — is released for publication Friday.
The book signing, which is limited to 500 guests, has already sold out. People from all over the country, who were able to purchase tickets online, are jetting in to Sulphur Springs for the event.
More than 125 million copies of the trilogy have sold and the film version of “Fifty Shades” earned more than $560 million worldwide.
All of which begs the question, how did the most sought-after author in the world end up in Sulphur Springs one day after her biggest release?
It’s due to the friendship between James and The Bookworm Box owner and New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, who is a Hopkins County resident.
“People have already been calling about how to get rental cars and asking about which hotels are in Sulphur Springs,” said Hoover. “People are flying in from all around the United States because E.L. James is only having two book signings in the states. After this, she will be headed to New York.”
Hoover and James became acquainted three years ago and became fast friends.
“After we met, we really hit it off. She is so sweet and has helped me along the way,” said Hoover. “I never wanted to exploit our relationship and ask her to do a signing, but while I was telling her about The Bookworm Box, she offered to come.”
The Bookworm Box is not like any other bookstore because it helps local organizations while connecting fans with their favorite authors.
“I wanted to give back to the community because I have had lots of good things come my way,” said Hoover. “I realized that I had a lot of connections with other authors and tried to think how I could give back on a larger scale.”
Here is how the Bookworm Box works: authors donate hundreds of signed copies of their books to Hoover’s organization. In turn, The Bookworm Box sells the books and donates all the proceeds to local charities. Customers can also go online and purchase a box of two different signed books called “Good Deeds, Great Reads” to further raise money for the charities. Books can be purchased online at thebookwormbox.com or inside the store.
“We started in March and sold out our inventory in four minutes. It was really crazy that we have received such a great response,” said Hoover. “Now, we sell 2,000 ‘Good Deeds, Good Reads’ boxes in a month online and have raised more than $100,000 for charity.”
Hoover, who grew up in Hopkins County, quickly realized her home was too small to run such a large amount of inventory on a monthly basis. After some searching, she settled on a storefront on Main Street off of Celebration Plaza.
“We wanted to open a bookstore that was an extenuation of the online charity. Every book in The Bookworm Box has been signed by the author, all of our employees are volunteers and every month we pick new charities to donate to. This is a one-of-a-kind bookstore,” said Hoover. “E.L. James has chosen No Kid Hungry to receive all the funds from her book signing.”
“Grey” is a retelling of the events of “Fifty Shades of Grey” from the perspective of main character and billionaire Christian Grey. The other two books in the series are “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed.”
The book signing begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, but tickets have already sold out.