Child and Hawkins dominate library loans

Child and Hawkins dominate library loans

Lee Child's Night School (Bantam) tops the LibScan lending chart for the year to date, with a whopping 17,537 loans between January and July.

The Jack Reacher prequel also briefly topped the TCM chart at 2017’s half-way mark: with 237,516 copies sold, it defeated David Walliams' Blob (HarperCollins' Children’s) by a miniscule 559 copies, only to lose its year to date crown just days later to Walliams’ The World’s Worst Children 2.

Though Child has been a library-goers’ favourite since 2010, Night School’s particular stellar success over 2017 may be down to timing: the hardback release in November saw it take an early lead from January onwards, and the paperback’s release in April has only helped the title’s consistency—it’s been number one in the LibScan chart for every month this year.

For many of those months, Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train (Doubleday) has been the second most borrowed book following on from both 2015 and 2016’s full year charts, when the commuter thriller played second fiddle to two separate Lee Child titles. For the year-to date chart it is once again in the runner-up position—though in the latest July top 20, it has been usurped by Hawkins’ second crime title, Into the Water. For the year to date, it inches ahead of Jeffrey Archer’s This Was a Man (Pan) by just 115 loans. Despite its two and half years of library chart dominance, 2017 could be the first year since its publication that The Girl on the Train doesn’t feature in the top two.

Crime fiction, as always, had a strong hold on the chart, with TCM number ones John Grisham’s The Whistler (Hodder) and Ian Rankin’s Rather Be the Devil (Orion) both featuring in the top 10. Library-goers seemed to favour the specific hard-boiled private detective genre over psychological thrillers, with Hawkins the only female author in the top 20.

Despite a strong showing from Children’s titles, with five in the top 20, only two authors actually hit the chart—Walliams and Jeff Kinney. Liz Pichon, the highest-charting female author after Hawkins, hits 29th place with her Tom Gates titles DogZombies Rule (for Now) (Scholastic).

Non-fiction is rather overlooked by library patrons: the highest charting non-fiction title is Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling (Doubleday), published in 2015, which in 139th place is the only non-fiction book in the top 500, with a lending rate of 4,685 times. Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15 trilogy follows it in places 564th to 775th.

The figures are taken from 70 public UK library authorities and more than 1,930 individual branches that Nielsen LibScan covers.

  TITLE AUTHOR IMPRINT ISBN (978+) LENDING RATE
1 Night School Lee Child Bantam 0593073902 17,537
2 The Girl on the Train Paula Hawkins Doubleday 0857522313 12,878
3 This Was a Man Jeffrey Archer Macmillan 1447252245 12,763
4 The Wrong Side of Goodbye Michael Connelly Orion 1409145530 11,654
5 The Whistler John Grisham Hodder & Stoughton 1444791105 10,795
6 Rather Be the Devil Ian Rankin Orion 1409159407 10,758
7 Double Down Jeff Kinney Puffin 0141373010 10,595
8 Make Me Lee Child Bantam 0593073889 9,180
9 Old School Jeff Kinney Puffin 0141364728 8,989
10 The Midnight Gang David Walliams HarperCollins Children's 0008164614 8,907
11 The World's Worst Children David Walliams HarperCollins Children's 0008197032 8,648
12 Cross the Line James Patterson Century 1780892689 8,624
13 The Long Haul Jeff Kinney Puffin 0141354224 8,599
14 When the Music's Over Peter Robinson Hodder & Stoughton 1444786712 8,538
15 No Man's Land David Baldacci Macmillan 1447277484 8,532
16 Home Harlan Coben Century 1780894218 8,471
17 Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney Puffin 0141324906 8,447
18 Cabin Fever Jeff Kinney Puffin 0141343006 8,201
19 Rodrick Rules Jeff Kinney Puffin 0141324913 8,006
20 Conclave Robert Harris Hutchinson 0091959166 7,857