Let me start by saying I have not read the books at all...I can only go on what I've heard from friends and fellow authors I know who have read them. And what I've heard is pretty darn mixed. Some adore the books...best thing they've read in forever and it's really spiced up their sex lives. Others say it's okay. And still others say it's so repetitive they can't get through them. I know I will never read them. It's just not my thing. I adore romance, and erotic romance too-- even the kinky stuff! But I am just not a fan of BDSM. Not gonna get into it right now...email me if you want my reasons :)
Anyway, I think the 50 Shades phenomenon is doing wonderful things for the erotic romance genre. The books are introducing readers to a new-to-them genre. I know many who are already asking "What do I read after reading 50 Shades?" And I have a list of authors I recommend. These wonderfully talented authors will sell many more books because of one woman's success and I think that's a great thing. Twilight did the same for all those great YA and adult paranormal writers out there.
My hope is that it's success also affects all genres of romance. I don't write erotic romance, but my stuff is pretty spicy!
I think the publishing world runs on cycles. The trends in books, just like fashion, come around every so often. It seems as if the paranormal trend may be waning and a new trend is upon us. Who knows where the industry will flow to next!