Random House has asked OR Books to change the cover of Fifty Shades of Louisa May, a work that parodies the best seller 50 Shades of Grey—framed as an erotic diary written by Louisa May Alcott.
Random House contacted OR Books after OR launched a “Bonnets for Bondage” promotion, offering readers a free copy of Fifty Shades of Louisa May in exchange for their copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group executive director of publicity Paul Bogaards explained the circumstances to GalleyCat via email. He wrote: “Counsel did contact OR books about the cover art for their book Fifty Shades of Louisa May, suggesting they revise same. They also requested that OR books refrain from using cover art from Fifty Shades of Grey in their promotional materials. The issue was not about the parody but the use of our cover art to help promote it.”
John Oakes, co-founder of OR Books, replied in an email to GalleyCat: “I’m not sure you can publish a book parody without a pretty close link to the original’s cover: even when we made fun of poor Sarah Palin and her autobiography neither she nor Harper sent a lawyer to call … we at OR will conduct a séance to check in with the shade of Louisa May Alcott (and her agent), but I doubt we shall bow to the forces of Midtown.”
Full Disclosure: GalleyCat editor Jason Boog will publish with OR Books.