Berryville Graphics workers won’t share in ‘50 Shades of Grey’ riches
Posted: December 13, 2012
The Winchester Star
BERRYVILLE — Employees of a book printing and manufacturing company here are seeing 50 shades of red.
New York-based publishing giant Random House is rewarding its employees for a profitable year with $5,000 bonuses, Chief Executive Officer Markus Dohle announced Monday.
But so far, the stockings are empty for employees at Berryville Graphics — who played a big role in the company’s prosperous 2012 by printing millions of copies of the steamy hit novel “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Berryville Graphics is an affiliate of the German corporation Bertelsmann SE & Co., the parent company of Random House.
Berryville Graphics management did not return requests for comment Wednesday. But employees there said they will not receive a bonus and are not happy about it.
“We feel betrayed,” said one employee who wished to remain anonymous.
Another employee said that from July to November, many Berryville Graphic employees worked seven-day weeks and that 15 million to 17 million copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey” were manufactured at the facility.
E.L. James’s erotic trilogy has sold more than 35 million copies overall in the United States. The other titles in the series are “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed.”
Random House spokesman Stuart Applebaum said Wednesday that Berryville Graphics officials make their own decisions about bonuses and that Dohle can’t intervene.
He added, however, that Random House could not have had such a successful year without the support of Berryville Graphics.
“We love Berryville Graphics,” Applebaum said. “They’re a sister company and have been indispensable in the printing and manufacturing of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’”
Bertelsmann is an international media company with core divisions encompassing television, book and magazine publishing, and outsourcing services in 50 countries.
Through the first nine months of 2012, the German company’s profit was 528 million euros — more than $690 million, based on Wednesday’s currency values — up from 377 million euros ($492.8 million) through the first nine months of 2011, according to a company statement.
Bertelsmann did not release 2012 financial data for Random House or Berryville Graphics.
In 2009 and 2010, Berryville Graphics laid off 138 workers.
This year, the state, Clarke County and Berryville governments provided $400,000 in grants to help convince the company to keep its current location and add 84 positions.
The Associated Press contributed some information for this report.
— Contact Conor Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org