Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Civica library index: Australians turn to local fiction during pandemic

Civica has released its 2021 Libraries Index, which looks at the borrowing data from 34 million loans across 104 regional and metropolitan libraries in Australia and New Zealand between 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

Jane Harper’s 2020 thriller The Survivors was the most borrowed book overall, with 65% of the top 20 most borrowed books being titles by Australian authors, up from 60% last year. Almost half of this year’s list is mysteries and thrillers, including novels by local authors Dervla McTiernan and Michael Robotham, while the overall top 20 also includes children’s books by Australians Anh Do and Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton.

Civica managing director of libraries and education solutions Iain Finlayson noted the growth in ebook and audiobook loans during the pandemic. ‘Libraries played an important role throughout lockdowns last year as a rich source of much needed escapism. While many people continued to borrow physical books, we also saw an uptick in the number of e-loans. A key enabler of this trend is access to digital platforms that provide online access for citizens to a broad range of titles.’

Queensland-based Ipswich Libraries saw an 80% increase in e-audio downloads, a 67% increase in ebooks loans and a 120% increase in e-magazine downloads. ACT Libraries saw a 35% increase in ebooks and e-audio loans, while, Yarra Plenty Regional Library in Melbourne saw a combined e-audio and ebook increase of 45%. In New Zealand, Hutt City Libraries saw e-audio loans increase by 40% and ebook loans increase by 41% for the same time period.

‘We should expect this trend to continue to be part of citizen borrowing patterns moving forward and it will be important for libraries to continue to have a digital presence to meet citizens’ evolving expectations,’ added Finlayson.

Most borrowed books overall

  1. The Survivors (Jane Harper, Macmillan)
  2. Becoming (Michelle Obama, Penguin)
  3. Blue Moon (Lee Child, Bantam)
  4. The Good Turn (Dervla McTiernan, HarperCollins)
  5. The Lost Man (Jane Harper, Macmillan)
  6. When She Was Good (Michael Robotham, Hachette)
  7. The Scent Keeper (Erica Bauermeister, Griffin)
  8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 14: Wrecking Ball (Jeff Kinney, Puffin)
  9. The 117-Storey Treehouse (Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton, Pan)
  10. Fair Warning (Michael Connelly, A&U)
  11. Good Girl Bad Girl (Michael Robotham, Hachette)
  12. WeirDo #14: Vote WeirDo (Anh Do, Scholastic)
  13. Boy Swallows Universe (Trent Dalton, Fourth Estate)
  14. A Room Made of Leaves (Kate Grenville, Text)
  15. Hotdog #8: Art Time! (Anh Do, Scholastic)
  16. Nine Perfect Strangers (Liane Moriarty, Macmillan)
  17. Too Much and Never Enough (Mary L Trump, S&S)
  18. The Weekend (Charlotte Wood, A&U)
  19. All our Shimmering Skies (Trent Dalton, Fourth Estate)
  20. WeirDo #13: Weirdomania! (Anh Do, Scholastic)

Most borrowed ebooks

  1. Blue Moon (Lee Child, Bantam)
  2. The Survivors (Jane Harper, Macmillan)
  3. Fair Warning (Michael Connelly, A&U)
  4. The Good Turn (Dervla McTiernan, HarperCollins)
  5. The Lost Man (Jane Harper, Macmillan)
  6. The Night Fire (Michael Connelly, A&U)
  7. Walk the Wire (David Baldacci, Macmillan)
  8. The Scent Keeper (Erica Bauermeister, Griffin)
  9. Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens, Corsair)
  10. The Boy From the Woods (Harlan Coben, Arrow)

Most borrowed audiobooks

  1. The Lost Man (Jane Harper, Macmillan)
  2. Bruny (Heather Rose, A&U)
  3. The Good Turn (Dervla McTiernan, HarperCollins)
  4. Phosphorescence (Julia Baird, Fourth Estate)
  5. Suitcase of Dreams (Tania Blanchard, S&S)
  6. See What You Made Me Do (Jess Hill, Black Inc.)
  7. Boy Swallows Universe (Trent Dalton, Fourth Estate)
  8. The Round Yard (Alissa Callen, Mills & Boon)
  9. The Barefoot Investor (Scott Pape, Wiley)
  10. The Cake Maker’s Wish (Josephine Moon, Penguin)

To view the top 10 most borrowed books in the fiction, nonfiction, biography, Australian, children’s and YA categories, see the Civica website.


Category: Local news