Two Lee Child novels were the most borrowed books of the year from UK libraries in 2012-13, while Hilary Mantel and J K Rowling also saw books fly into the top 10, in the annual UK book lending figures released by the Public Lending Right.
But for the seventh year running, it is James Patterson who is the most borrowed author from UK libraries, with 15 of his titles appearing in the 100 most borrowed books. Rainbow Magic’s Daisy Meadows brand remains the second most borrowed author, while Julia Donaldson is again third.
Aside from a minor reshuffling within the top 10 authors, the only real change is that Danielle Steel has dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since comprehensive records began in 1988–89. Taking her place in the top 10 is David Baldacci, following a campaign from publisher Pan Macmillan and The Reading Agency to boost library users’ awareness of the author.
The top eight most borrowed authors all racked up more than a million loans each, and lead the 200 authors who reached the maximum payment threshold of £6,600. Altogether, 22,372 authors will receive a portion of the £6.1m total paid out this year, shared out at a rate of 6.2p per loan.
The most borrowed book of the year was Lee Child’s 16th Jack Reacher thriller, The Affair (Bantam), which was loaned 79,338 times, with its sequel, A Wanted Man (Bantam), second with 77,667 loans.
Despite E L James’ dominance of the 2012 bestseller charts, Fifty Shades of Grey (Arrow) was only the third most borrowed book of 2012–13, with 75,654 loans. No other Fifty Shades titles made the top 10; James ranked 192nd in the author standings.
All of the top three books were loaned more times than last year’s most borrowed book, Patterson and Maxine Paetro’s 10th Anniversary (Century) which claimed the top spot in 2011-2012 with a total of 65,944 loans.
Unusually, two literary novels made it into the top 10 most borrowed books list alongside the usual crime and children’s titles.
Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies (Fourth Estate), driven by its 2012 Man Booker Prize triumph, was the eighth most borrowed book of the year, with 57,394 loans. Meanwhile J K Rowling’s first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, was the 10th most borrowed book of the year, with 54,291 loans.
Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw (Puffin) was the most borrowed children’s title of the year with 60,172 loans, also making it the fourth most borrowed book of the year overall. The original Diary of a Wimpy Kid claimed fifth spot overall with 60,456 loans.
The most borrowed adult non-fiction title of the year was The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight by Dave Myers and Si King (Orion), followed by Clare Balding’s My Family and Other Animals (Viking).
The top five most borrowed “classic” authors were all the same as last year, with Roald Dahl at number one, followed by Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer and Charles Dickens. All five would have received a maximum payment if they were still living.
PLR is funded through the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, with the function passed last year to the British Library after a controversial consultation process. A consultation is also due to begin on extending the PLR scheme to cover loans of audiobooks and e-books within public libraries. Since the scheme began in 1979, more than £144m has been paid to authors.