Publisher: Copy of upcoming ‘Fifty Shades’ novel stolen

LONDON — A copy of the upcoming “Fifty Shades of Grey” sequel has been stolen, just over a week before publication day, publisher Penguin Random House said Wednesday.

The publisher said Kent Police in southern England are investigating the theft of a finished copy of E.L. James’ new book, “Grey.” It said it could not comment further because a police investigation is under way.

Kent Police confirmed that “officers are making inquiries after receiving a report that a book had been stolen” Monday.

The erotic “Fifty Shades” trilogy has sold more than 125 million copies, and a movie released this year has grossed more than $500 million worldwide.

The first three books followed the romance between S&M-loving young billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele.

“Grey,” the fourth in the series, tells the story from Christian’s point of view.

Penguin Random House said “Grey” would be published as planned June 18, Christian Grey’s birthday.

Piracy can be a major headache for publishers of best-selling books. In 2005, thieves stole copies of the much-anticipated “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” from a warehouse north of London and tried to sell them to tabloid newspapers.

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