Fifty Shades of Grey keeps Random House in the black

Record-breaking sales of the Fifty Shades Of Grey book trilogy have proved more important than The X Factor in holding up profits at German-owned media conglomerate Bertelsmann.

The books arm Random House yesterday said that profits before exceptional items surged 76 per cent to £275m last year, with sales up 22 per cent to £1.78bn, thanks in large part to EL James's hit.

The British author, pictured, has sold 70 million print, audio, and e-book editions of Fifty Shades, making it Random House's best-ever series.

In contrast the TV division RTL, which makes the X Factor and Got Talent series around the world, saw profits drop by 5 per cent to £932m.

The rise of e-books continues to put pressure on the books trade and Random House is merging with Penguin to cut costs.