Lee Child's Midnight Line named UK's most borrowed library book

Lee Child's Midnight Line named UK's most borrowed library book

Lee Child's The Midnight Line (Bantam Press) is the UK's most often loaned library book of 2018/19 while Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (HarperCollins) tops the first e-book listing using Public Lending Right (PLR) data.

Child dominated the 10 most loaned out print books, with fellow Jack Reacher novels Night Schoolthe previous year's most borrowed book – at seven and Past Tense at five.

Crime and thrillers again were the genre of choice of library-goers with NYPD Red by James Patterson (Arrow), Dead if You Don’t by Peter James (Pan), Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves (Macmillan), Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly (Orion) and Dan Brown's Origin (Corgi) all making the top 10.

The thriller run was only broken by David Walliams, whose The World’s Worst Children (HarperCollins Children's Books) was second on the list, and Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant (HarperCollins)

Continuing the hunger for thrillers, James Patterson took the title of most borrowed author for the 13th year running, ahead of Child at number four.

Children's writers made up half the list with Daisy Meadows and Julia Donaldson in second and third place respectively – their same positions as last year. Roald Dahl, Francesca Simon and David Walliams also appeared in the top 10.

The results, covering July 2018 to June 2019, are revealed annually by the British Library, which administers the PLR scheme, paying authors when their books are borrowed from public libraries. Unlike previous years, the British Library said it was unable to supply actual figures for the number of loans.

This year is the first to reveal the most borrowed e-books with Honeyman's runaway bestseller topping the list followed by The Midnight Line. Adam Kay's This Is Going To Hurt (Picador) was third while Sally Rooney's Normal People (Faber) and Circe by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury) also featured.

The figures were released after public libraries saw a surge in e-book borrowing during the coronavirus pandemic. Libraries Connected last month estimated a 358% increase in the number of people borrowing e-books during the first three weeks of lockdown.

A regional breakdown also showed some variation in the most borrowed print books. London library-goers' most popular choice was Eleanor Oliphant, while in the east of England and Northern Ireland, Walliams ruled the roost. Every other area opted for The Midnight Line as their number one.

Tom Holland, chair of the PLR Advisory Committee, said: "If PLR is to stay the same – to paraphrase Lampedusa’s famous quip – then it has to change. This year’s figures show just how successfully it is achieving this. As it ever does, it is disbursing funds to a wide range of authors and contributors, and ensuring that they are properly remunerated for the borrowing of their books from libraries.

“Equally, the fact that the first payments for the remote loans of e-books were made this year demonstrate that PLR is swimming with the fast moving currents of the times. An unchanging mission, fuelled by a readiness to change."  

The full lists and more information on PLR are available online.