Scottish book readers enjoy a good thriller – that’s the obvious fact from a newly-published list of the most borrowed books in the country.
Book Week Scotland has just concluded, as people of all ages and walks of life came together in libraries, schools, community venues and workplaces to share and enjoy books and reading.
GoCompare home insurance has analysed nearly three decades of lending data from Public Lending Right (PLR) to uncover which authors, titles and genres have shaped the nation’s reading habits.
The most borrowed books in Scotland last year were:
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins; Even Dogs in the Wild: The new John Rebus by Ian Rankin; Make Me by Lee Child; Coffin Road by Peter May; Night School by Lee Child; Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney; In the Cold Dark Ground by Stuart MacBride; The Last Mile by David Baldacci; Personal by Lee Child; and Rather be the Devil by Ian Rankin.
Scotland’s tastes have definitely become darker over the last 25 years.
From 1993 to 1999 romance and Catherine Cookson novels are the country’s most borrowed books, but that changed in 2000 at JK Rowling took over and Harry Potter was the most borrowed book. From 2001-2003 Josephine Cox takes over as the favourite of library-goers in Scotland, with her more romantic novels. From 2003-2004 Scots author Ian Rankin was the number one in the land as crime, thriller and mystery becomes more popular (Ian Rankin is also in the top 10 of the most borrowed others in the UK from 2000-2017).
From 2007-2016 James Patterson was named the most borrowed author and continues to be up until today.
And in 2017, nine of the 10 most borrowed books are in the genre of thriller, crime and mystery and romance is completely gone from the top 10.
A BBC investigation in 2016 revealed that almost 8,000 jobs in UK libraries disappeared in six years, about a quarter of the overall total
The same study revealed that 343 libraries closed in the UK in this six-year period.
The figures come as dozens of libraries across Scotland have been closed in the past year – and the figure has doubled in the space of a year.
In Scotland, there were 3515 paid library jobs in 2010 and 3416 in 2015 – a drop of 99 (3 per cent), a BBC report found.
Laura Swaffield, library activist and chair of the Library Campaign, said: ‘The free PCs in libraries are an absolute lifeline to the many who can’t afford IT, or figure out how to use it without help – over 15m people UK-wide.
‘Benefits claimants are top of the list – forced to do all their paperwork and job searches online whether they can afford IT or not. Libraries are more vital than ever in the digital age. But the overwhelming reason people use libraries is still to borrow books.’
Elsewhere in the UK, the most borrowed books by region last year were:
East and East Midlands – Sunshine over Wildflower Cottage by Milly Johnson; London – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins; North East – Night School by Lee Child; North West and Merseyside – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins; South East – After You by Jojo Moyes; South West – The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl; West Midlands – Make Me by Lee Child; Yorkshire and the Humber – Night School by Lee Child; Northern Ireland – Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney; Wales – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. In the Republic of Ireland, the most borrowed book was Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney.