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New ‘Fifty Shades’ manuscript reportedly stolen

LOS ANGELES – It looks like the publisher of “Fifty Shades of Grey” may have to break out the handcuffs.

Penguin Random House, the publisher of the erotic novels from E.L. James, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that a copy of the series’ upcoming spinoff, “Grey,” has been stolen. It was set to be released just next week on June 18.

According to reports, Penguin said the Kent police in Southern England are investigating the possible theft. A rep from Vintage Books, the imprint owned by Penguin Random House that publishes the books, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

“Grey” tells the infamous story from Christian Grey’s point of view, as opposed to Anatasia Steele, who (along with her inner goddess) narrated the past three books. James’ “Fifty Shades” trilogy has told 125 million copies worldwide, and the movie based on the first book has grossed more than $500 million at the global box office.

As piracy continues to handicap Hollywood, books in major franchises or by famous authors also face the threat. In an eerie coincidence, a similar situation surrounded the “Twilight” franchise — the books that inspired “Fifty Shades — in 2008. “Twilight” author Stephanie Meyer was set to release “Midnight Sun,” a spinoff told from Edward Cullen’s point of view, before a partial draft of the book leaked online. Meyer pulled the book, with the final version never seeing the light of day. Could “Grey” suffer the same fate?

Before that, copies of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” J.K. Rowling’s sixth book in the hit franchise, were stolen from a warehouse in 2005 and sold to newspapers before the book was released.

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