What’s Australia reading? – Civica’s 2020 Libraries Index.

It’s Library & Information Week 2020, and Civica and the Australian Library & Information Association have released their annual list of most borrowed books.

Australian readers favour books by local authors in Civica’s 2020 Libraries Index

Library members are increasingly opting for homegrown stories and authors, with Civica’s 2020 Libraries Index revealing Australian authors made up more than half (60 per cent) of the top 20 borrowed books across Australian libraries. This is up from 2019 when Aussie writers made up just 40 per cent of the top 20 most borrowed books, according to the Index.

Topping this year’s list of most borrowed books is Australian Liane Moriarty’s best-selling novel and soon-to-be television series, Nine Perfect Strangers. The story, which follows nine strangers as they embark on a journey of wellness increased its popularity – jumping from the 20th most borrowed book in last year’s Index.

Top 20

  1. Nine perfect strangers / Liane Moriarty
  2. Becoming / Michelle Obama
  3. Past Tense / Lee Child
  4. The Lost Man / Jane Harper
  5. The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need / Scott Pape
  6. Any Ordinary Day / Leigh Sales
  7. Killer Instinct / James Patterson
  8. Boy Swallows Universe / Trent Dalton
  9. Bridge of Clay / Markus Zusak
  10. The Barefoot Investor for Families: The Only Kids’ Money Guide You’ll Ever Need / Scott Pape
  11. The Other Wife / Michael Robotham
  12. The Fast 800: How to Combine Rapid Weight Loss and Intermittent Fasting for Long-Term Health / Michael Mosley
  13. Educated / Tara Westover
  14. The 91-storey Treehouse / Andy Griffiths
  15. The Midnight Line / Lee Child
  16. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life / Mark Manson
  17. No Friend but The Mountains: Writing from Manus prison / Behrouz Boochani
  18. Good Girl Bad Girl / Michael Robotham
  19. The 104-storey Treehouse / Andy Griffiths
  20. Force of Nature / Jane Harper

Fiction

  1. Nine Perfect Strangers / Liane Moriarty
  2. Past Tense / Lee Child
  3. The Lost Man / Jane Harper
  4. Killer Instinct / James Patterson
  5. Boy Swallows Universe / Trent Dalton
  6. The Midnight Line / Lee Child
  7. Long Road to Mercy / David Baldacci
  8. Bridge of Clay / Markus Zusak
  9. Redemption / David Baldacci
  10. Normal People / Sally Rooney

Australian stories and authors prove most popular

This year’s index reveals stories set in Australia are popular with library members, with four of the top 20 books taking place in Brisbane, Sydney. ACT and rural Queensland. Australian Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe (8th), a coming-of-age story set in the housing estates in the fringes of Brisbane, and Markus Zusak’s novel, Bridge of Clay (9th), is set in Syndey, depicting the journey of five brothers as they search for the reason behind their father leaving them after their mother’s death.

Jane Harper scores two books in the Top 20, The Lost Man (4th), set in outback Queensland, and Force of Nature (20th), featuring the Giralang Ranges in ACT.

Australian crime writer, Michael Robotham’s novel The Other Wife ranked 11th by readers. It depicts the journey of a son as he launches an investigation into the death of his father and uncovers a secret life. Robotham also proved popular with his psychological thriller, Good Girl Bad Girl (ranked 18th), a suspenseful story that follows a forensic psychologist caught between two cases—one girl who needs to be saved, and another who needs justice.

Australian stories – Top 10

  1. Nine Perfect Strangers / Liane Moriarty
  2. The Lost Man / Jane Harper
  3. Boy Swallows Universe / Trent Dalton
  4. Bridge of Clay / Markus Zusak
  5. The Other Wife / Michael Robotham
  6. Good Girl Bad Girl / Michael Robotham
  7. Force Of Nature / Jane Harper
  8. The 104-storey Treehouse / Andy Griffiths
  9. Arcadia / Di Morrissey
  10. Truly Madly Guilty / Liane Moriarty

Non fiction

This year’s index reveals there is a strong appetite for aspirational and self-help or improvement books and biographies continue to be popular. Michelle Obama’s Becoming ranked first, followed by Scott Pape’s The Barefoot Investor  and Leigh Sales Any Ordinary Day, highlighting how ordinary people endure the unthinkable and find resilience.

Australian biographies remain popular amongst readers with Anh Do’s The Happiest Refugee, making the top ten most popular biographies along with Richard Glover’s The Land Before Avocado and Bri Lee’s successful Eggshell Skull, depicting her journey through the Australian legal system.

All Non fiction

  1. Becoming / Michelle Obama
  2. The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need / Scott Pape
  3. Any Ordinary Day / Leigh Sales
  4. The Barefoot Investor for Families: The Only Kids’ Money Guide You’ll Ever Need / Scott Pape
  5. The Fast 800: How to Combine Rapid Weight Loss and Intermittent Fasting for Long-Term Health / Michael Mosley
  6. Educated / Tara Westover
  7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life / Mark Manson
  8. Every thing is F*cked: A Book About Hope / Mark Manson
  9. No Friend but The Mountains: Writing from Manus prison / Behrouz Boochani
  10. The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire / Cloe Hooper

Biographies

  1. Becoming / Michelle Obama
  2. Any Ordinary Day / Leigh Sales
  3. Educated / Tara Westover
  4. No Friend But The Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison / Behrouz Boochani
  5. The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster / Sara Krasnostein
  6. The Land Before Avocado: Journeys in a Lost Australia / Richard Glover
  7. The Erratics / Vicki Laveau-Harvie
  8. Three Women / Lisa Taddeo
  9. Eggshell Skull: A Memoir About Standing Up, Speaking Out and Fighting Back / Bri Lee
  10. The Happiest Refugee: The Extraordinary True Story of a Boy’s Journey from Starvation at Sea to Becoming One of Australia’s Best-loved Comedians / Anh Do

Children’s books

Australian author Andy Griffiths best-selling series The 91-storey treehouse and The 104-storey treehouse topped the list of most borrowed fiction among young adults and children. Other notable Australians include Matt Cosgrove’s Alpacas with Maracas and Andy Lee’s series Do Not Open This Book.

Fiction children

  1. The 104-storey Treehouse / Andy Griffiths
  2. The 91-storey Treehouse / Andy Griffiths
  3. Hopping Weird! / Anh Do
  4. The Getaway / Jeff Kinney
  5. The 117-storey Treehouse / Andy Griffiths
  6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown / Jeff Kinney
  7. Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal / Jeff Kinney
  8. The Meltdown / Jeff Kinney
  9. The 52-storey Treehouse / Andy Griffiths
  10. Splashy Weird! / Anh Do

Picture books

  1. Alpacas with Maracas / Matt Cosgrove
  2. Pig the Star / Aaron Blabey
  3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar / Eric Carle
  4. Pig the Grub / Aaron Blabey
  5. Scarface Claw, hold tight! / Lynley Dodd
  6. A Stack of Alpacas / Matt Cosgrove
  7. Do Not Open This Book Again / Andy Lee
  8. Pig the Pug / Aaron Blabey
  9. Where is the Green Sheep? / Mem Fox
  10. Do Not Open This ook / Andy Lee

Non fiction children

  1. The Barefoot Investor for Families: The Only Kids’ Money Guide You’ll Ever Need / Scott Pape
  2. Minecraft: Redstone Handbook / Nick Farwell
  3. Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls. 2 / Francesca Cavallo
  4. Guinness World Records 2019
  5. Minecraft: Beginner’s Handbook / Stephanie Milton
  6. Guinness World Records. 2019, Gamer’s edition
  7. Minecraft: Construction Handbook / Matthew Needler
  8. Guinness World Records 2018 / Guinness World Records Limited
  9. Minecraft. Combat Handbook / Stephanie Milton
  10. Minecraft Guide To Enchantments & Potions / Stephanie Milton

 Big jump in e-resource use during COVID-19 lockdowns

The 2020 Civica Libraries Index also highlights another shift in reader behaviour, as more readers borrowed e-resources from libraries, including audio books and e-books .

“Since libraries were forced to close due to the pandemic, reading and borrowing patterns have changed and we’ve seen a huge spike in the number of e-resources including audio and e-books borrowed by citizens across all age groups. From aspirational and self-help guides to crime, thrillers and historical fiction, books are a true form of escapism in this unprecedented time,” Sue McKerracher, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), says.

The most popular audio books borrowed from libraries were non-fiction, with Michelle Obama’s, Becoming, taking out the top spot,  followed by Scott Pape’s best-selling financial help guide, The Barefoot Investor and Mark Manson’s, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****, dubbed this generation’s self-help guide to becoming a truly better and happier person.

From our experience here at Cockburn Libraries, there was a 50% increase of e-loans in the first four weeks of our COVID-19 closure compared to the monthly average for the rest of this financial year.

Iain Finlayson, Managing Director of Libraries and Education Solutions at Civica, says libraries will continue to flourish beyond COVID-19 – as will demand for digital services.

“Libraries have always been and will be an integral part of communities in a post-pandemic world. Not only as a form of escapism, but also as a means to keep connected with others during long periods of self-isolation. As restrictions start to ease across the country, we can expect citizen behaviours will change. It will continue to be essential for libraries to have in-person services, but they will also need to maintain the current digital presence as citizens’ new habit of borrowing e-resources continues,” Finlayson says.

Audio books

(links will show all formats (print, ebook, audio) of the titles the library has)

  1. Becoming / Michelle Obama
  2. The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need / Scott Pape
  3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life / Mark Manson
  4. Nine Perfect Strangers / Liane Moriarty
  5. The Tattooist of Auschwitz / Heather Morris
  6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone / J.K. Rowling
  7. Persuader / Lee Child
  8. Boy Swallows Universe / Trent Dalton
  9. The Weekend / Charlotte Wood
  10. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind / Yuval N. Harari

Ebooks

(links will show all formats (print, ebook, audio) of the titles the library has)

  1. The Lost Man / Jane Harper
  2. Becoming / Michelle Obama
  3. Nine Perfect Strangers / Liane Moriarty
  4. Boy Swallows Universe / Trent Dalton
  5. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine / Gail Honeyman
  6. The Mother-in-Law / Sally Hepworth
  7. The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need / Scott Pape
  8. The Tattooist of Auschwitz / Heather Morris
  9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life / Mark Manson
  10. The Rosie Result / Graeme C. Simsion

The 2020 Civica Libraries Index was compiled by analysing more than 38 million library book loans across Australia to help determine the country’s most popular books. Data was gathered over a 12-month period from between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020. All information on borrowing behaviours is collected anonymously.

This post was based on the joint media release from Civica and the Australian Library & Information Association.