"Fifty Shades of Grey" has become a worldwide, literary phenomenon. It's a #1 New York Times best-seller and the most talked-about book in media. The sadomasochistic relationship between characters Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele has made its way into the hands of a variety of readers and hooked them into their torrid love affair. It's become such a hit that Universal Pictures and Focus Features optioned the rights to the books after a massive bidding war, and fans are already campaigning for their favorite actors to land the lead roles.
But what's the reason for the book's popularity? With countless erotic and romance stories on bookshelves, what makes "Fifty Shades" stand out? When author E L James headed to New York's Union Square for a signing at Barnes & Noble, MTV News asked fans to weigh in on why they thought the work was widely recognized.
For one, buzz surrounded the novel because of its origins. James adapted Christian and Ana from Stephenie Meyer's Edward Cullen and Bella Swan, beginning the tale as "Twilight" fan fiction.
"[James] took 'Twilight' to a next level, because as pure as [Edward and Bella's] love was, it was not like this book," one fan explained. "She took it to the next level and gave America something that they were waiting and looking for."
Another reader told us the mystery behind a dominant/submissive relationship is what sparked the frenzy. "I think this book has become such a phenomenon because it's something that hasn't really been spoken about before," she said. "Women usually don't talk about these things."
In agreement, another fan added: "Everyone has something that they want to enact. And they're just not able to express it, but they're able to read it."
Put in simple terms: "Fifty Shades" turns readers on. "It's hot," one woman said. "It's totally sexy. I think we've got sex on the brain, and we want to read it. It's really enjoyable and it's giving us some ideas for future fantasies."
It also helps that Christian is described as "so hot" in the book. He's a billionaire who takes Ana on helicopter rides and showers her in expensive clothing and gifts. He's a woman's fantasy, one of James' followers explains.
"All women relate to Christian," she said. "They love him — all women, it doesn't matter who you talk to. They're like, 'I like that guy. I want to date that guy.' "
Why do you like "Fifty Shades of Grey"? Let us know in the comments below!