James Patterson remains the most borrowed author in UK libraries for the eighth year running, according to data released today (13th February) by the Public Lending Right (PLR).
Daisy Meadows holds firm in second place, while fellow children’s authors Julia Donaldson and Francesca Simon remain in third and fourth places. Nora Roberts, M C Beaton, Adam Blade and Jacqueline Wilson also stay in the top 10, joined by Roald Dahl and Lee Child, who replace David Baldacci and Mick Inkpen.
The most borrowed book of the year was Dan Brown’s Inferno (Bantam), while Jamie Oliver’s Save With Jamie (Michael Joseph) was the most borrowed non-fiction title, ranking at number 11 overall - a rare appearance in the top 100 for a non-fiction book.
Inferno recorded 65,471 loans, a decline compared to the most loaned book last year, Child's Jack Reacher thriller The Affair (Batman), which was taken out 79,338 times. Child was responsible for the second and third most borrowed titles of 2014 as well, Never Go Back and A Wanted Man, which saw 64,216 and 57,757 loans respectively. Regional breakdowns show that Child was the most borrowed author in the north east, Wales and Yorkshire, while Dan Brown triumphed in Scotland and James Patterson was most popular in Northern Ireland. In London, the most borrowed book was the Home Office title, Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents.
The number of people borrowing books from libraries has halved since 1997, according to figures released last year by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountanty (CIPFA), with loan rates also falling.
Authors this year will receive payments totalling £6m, shared between 22,053 eligible writers. The top payment is capped at £6,600, which 190 authors reached. The payment, first established in 1979, is set this year at 6.66p per loan. The rate has risen from 6.2p, partly due to fewer loans, and party due to savings made in the running costs of PLR, which was put under the remit of the British Library in 2013.
Donaldson said: "I'm thrilled that my books are being widely borrowed from libraries, which are some of my favourite places. I developed my own love of books in my local library and would quite possibly not otherwise have become a writer myself. When I was the Children's Laureate and went on a six-week library tour I was impressed with how libraries continue to inspire today's children, from the popular Rhyme-Time sessions for toddlers through to the homework clubs for schoolchildren. With the closure of so many bookshops the libraries have an added importance, and it's important that they remain open and at the heart of our communities."
Since July 2014, PLR has been extended to cover audiobook loans and e-books, with authors due to receive the first payments next year. Donaldson said: “It is wonderful to receive my PLR statement each year and I am pleased that PLR has now been extended to audiobooks. This comes after many years of authors and their organisations seeking for the inclusion of audiobooks in PLR. So, this extension comes as a very welcome development.”
Over the past 20 years, Catherine Cookson is the UK’s most borrowed author, racking up 37m loans between 1994 and 2014. Danielle Steele has displayed the best staying power, ranking in the top 20 most borrowed authors for the past 20 years, with more than 30m recorded loans.
The data was gathered between July 2013 and June 2014, through a sample of 44 different UK library authorities. Volunteer and community run libraries are included in the figures if councils which contribute include them as part of their statutory service provision.
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