SAN ANTONIO -- Amy Morales opened the Love Shack Boutique in February. It caters to adult sexual fantasies with a variety of items for the naughty and the nice. Since its opening, the store has seen a true bottom-line boost from E L James' "Fifty Shades" trilogy. In fact, San Antonians have been grabbing copies and anything else associated with the books.
"People say I want to find my Mr. Grey," said Morales. "I know he's out there."
"Fifty Shades of Grey" is the first installment in the series. It brings together billionaire character Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele. Their relationship evolves from a chance encounter to an erotic relationship fueled by love, lust, and taboo.
"He's into whips and paddles and handcuffs and other items," she says. "She's never used anything like that."
Steele is a virgin swept off her feet by a powerfully handsome figure. It's a familiar formula in erotic literature. However, something about the "Fifty Shades" ingredients have mixed well with readers. The books have reportedly sold more than 30 million copies world-wide over the past four months.
Morales says the books have sold out at her business a couple of times. She keeps stocking her shelves with more copies in English and Spanish. The steamy pages have also planted seeds of interest with blindfolds, whips, lingerie, and other adult items.
Foot traffic has picked up from couples wanting to explore the boundaries of fantasy. Husbands go into her store seeking adult products for their wives. Book clubs have stopped in, curious to see and purchase the toys mentioned in "Fifty Shades".
Morales recently hosted a "Fifty Shades of Grey" party at her store with more than 70 guests.
"We had a sexologist come in and talk about the different items," she says.
Morales says some think the so-called "mommy porn" trilogy is simply modern smut. However, after reading the books those same people have had a change of heart. Couples have credited the Grey/Steele story as a diving board to renewed passion.
"I think communication has opened up with their partner," she said.
The San Antonio Public Library can't keep a copy of the books in stock.
"I've never seen a copy of the book in the library," said library manager of Technological Services, Kathryn Sturtz.
She said they had a high customer demand to order the books. When "Fifty Shades" arrived, so did a waiting list. In fact, they haven't seen such a demand since "Harry Potter".
"We have 60 copies in print. We have almost 800 holds for those copies," said Sturtz. "We have 44 e-books and we have 452 holds for the e-books."
Anyone with a library card can check a copy out. Unlike some libraries across the country, San Antonio's library has not received one formal complaint about the book being a part of its collection of literature.