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21st May 2019

More than a third of our most borrowed books headed for La La Land

Australia and New Zealand reading habits blur the line between literature and pop culture in the 2019 Civica Libraries Index 

Sydney, 21 May, 2019: The 2019 Civica Libraries Index reveals similarities among the tastes of book lovers and movie buffs, with many of the most borrowed books from libraries across Australia and New Zealand headed to the big screen. The Index reveals seven of the top 20 titles are set to be adapted to films or television series, with stories authored by Australians becoming increasingly popular choices for adaptations, both locally and globally.

Civica, provider of the cloud-based Spydus library management system to schools, TAFEs and local government, partnered with the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) to create the 2019 Civica Libraries Index. The Index, now in its fourth year, assessed borrowing data from regional and metropolitan libraries across Australia and New Zealand between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019. 

At the top of this year’s list is Lee Child’s newest Jack Reacher novel, The Midnight Line,which depicts a journey for justice, beating Child’s Night School, which slipped one place from its top rank in 2018. The Jack Reacher series has already been released on the big screen by Paramount Pictures, with Tom Cruise starring as the ex-US army major, and is set to be developed into a brand-new television series.  

Australian stories prove popular in Hollywood

Three of the top 20 titles are Australian novels set to be developed into screen productions, highlighting the increasing popularity of Australian stories for film adaptations. After the success of Australian author Liane Moriarty’s TV series based on her novel Big Little Lies, two more of Moriarty’s titles are set to hit Hollywood.

Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers (#20) has been picked up to become a TV series for US streaming giant Hulu, a story about uncovering the secrets of people in an exclusive health retreat. This becomes the second of Moriarty’s titles in the top 20 to be adapted, Truly Madly Guilty (#18) was picked up by Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, the celebrities in Big Little Lies. In Truly Madly Guilty Moriarty continues her style of injecting drama into mundane family scenarios, this time describing the terrible events around a disastrous barbecue.

Jane Harper’s debut hit The Dry (#7) is set to be developed into a film starring Australian Eric Bana as investigator Aaron Faulk, who uncovers a murder suicide against the dramatic backdrop of the harsh Australian outback.

International titles experience success

Australians still have an interest in international titles, with Libraries ACT (the latest library to sign up to Spydus) revealing its most requested book was Irish author Sally Rooney’s, Conversations with Friends, a critically acclaimed novel that follows the journey of two college students in Dublin. In second place is Amor Towle’s A Gentleman in Moscow, the story of Count Alexander Rostov who was confined to his luxury hotel in Russia; also set to become a TV series starring and produced by Kenneth Branagh.

Sue McKerracher, Chief Executive Officer, ALIA, says, “With the increased popularity of streaming services the consumption of television and films has sky-rocketed and it’s great to see Australian stories appreciated and reflected in popular culture. These results speak to the strength of local authors whose novels are achieving success on the global stage. People often come into libraries requesting the novels that their favourite new TV show is based on. We saw it happen with Big Little Lies last year, which ranked number five in the 2018 Civica Libraries Index.”

Simon Jones, Managing Director of Libraries and Education Solutions at Civica, says libraries will continue to flourish in the digital age.

“This year’s Civica Libraries Index reveals that books are still relevant to many despite the growing popularity of digital streaming services, and in fact popular novels are leading the way for new projects in film and television. To meet dynamic customer expectations as literature and pop culture merge, many of our library customers have transformed into cultural hubs, both physically and digitally, to provide a place for book and movie lovers alike to discover new interests and stories.”

The 2019 Civica Libraries Index is compiled using Civica’s Spydus - a cloud-based software system developed in Australia that provides more than 2,500 libraries around the world with the latest digital technologies to meet the dynamic needs of today’s library members. The rankings are based on the popularity of each title from libraries which use Civica’s Spydus across Australia and New Zealand. 

Index highlights

Most borrowed

According to the 2019 Civica Libraries Index, Australians still have an appetite for crime and thriller tales, with novels in those genres dominating the most borrowed list, as they did in 2018. Following Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, The Midnight Line and Night School, in first and second place, came Australian author Tim Winton’s survival story The Shepherd’s Hut.

The list of the top 20 borrowed books reveals all the female authors are from Australia or New Zealand. The top male authors were from the US and UK.

Non-fiction

In the non-fiction category, Australians are prioritising books which provide self-help with chaos, money and/or trauma. For the second year running, Scott Pape’s The Barefoot Investor remains the only non-fiction title in the top 20 most borrowed books and is the number one non-fiction title. Scott’s popular finance guide was followed by Jordan B. Paterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaosand Michael Mosley’s The Clever Guts Diet in second and third place respectively.

Biography

Stories about Australian figures remain the most popular, with biographies written by Aussies comprising 90 per cent of the top biographies. Jimmy Barnes’ Working Class Man took out the top spot, followed by Sarah Krasnostein’s The Trauma Cleaner and Anh Do’s ever popular 2010 biography, The Happiest Refugee. Shaun Blythell’s Diary of a Bookseller was the most popular biography borrowed by New Zealanders.

Children and Young Adult books

Australian children’s author Andy Griffiths dominates the top titles borrowed by juniors – representing 60 per cent of the top books borrowed with American cartoonist and author Jeff Kinney taking out the other 40 per cent. It seems animals are the key to entice kids to read with all top ten titles in the picture books list featuring animals or creatures as a main character.

CIVICA 2019 Libraries Index

Most borrowed

Rank

Title

Author

1

The Midnight Line (2017)

Child, Lee

2

Night School (2016)

Child, Lee

3

The Shepherd's Hut (2018)

Winton, Tim

4

Force of Nature (2017)

Harper, Jane

5

The Woman in The Window (2018)

Finn, A. J.

6

The Dry (2016)

Harper, Jane

7

The Late Show (2017)

Connelly, Michael

8

Two Kinds of Truth (2017)

Connelly, Michael

9

End Game (2017)

Baldacci, David

10

The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need (2017)

Pape, Scott

11

The Rooster Bar (2017)

Grisham, John

12

No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Short Stories (2017)

Child, Lee

13

The Tattooist of Auschwitz (2018)

Morris, Heather

14

Texas Ranger

Patterson, James

15

The Fallen (2018)

Baldacci, David

16

The 91-Storey Treehouse (2017)

Griffiths, Andy

17

The Wrong Side of Goodbye (2016)

Connelly, Michael

18

Truly Madly Guilty (2016)

Moriarty, Liane

19

17th Suspect (2018)

Patterson, James

20

Nine Perfect Strangers (2018)

Moriarty, Liane

 

Top fiction

 Rank

Title

Author

1

The Midnight Line (2017)

Child, Lee

2

Night School (2016)

Child, Lee

3

The Shepherd's Hut (2018)

Winton, Tim

4

Force of Nature (2017)

Harper, Jane

5

The Woman in The Window (2018)

Finn, A. J.

6

The Dry (2016)

Harper, Jane

7

The Late Show (2017)

Connelly, Michael

8

Two Kinds of Truth (2017)

Connelly, Michael

9

End Game (2017)

Baldacci, David

10

The Rooster Bar (2017)

Grisham, John

 

Top non-fiction

Rank

Title

Author

1

The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need (2017)

Pape, Scott

2

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018)

Peterson, Jordan B.

3

The Clever Guts Diet (2017)

Mosley, Michael

4

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A ****: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living A Good Life (2016)

Manson, Mark

5

Working Class Man (2017)

Barnes, Jimmy

6

5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food (2017)

Oliver, Jamie,

7

The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman's Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster (2017) 

Krasnostein, Sarah

8

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying  Up

Kondo, Marie

9

Any Ordinary Day (2018)

Sales, Leigh

10

The Barefoot Investor for Families: The Only Kids' Money Guide You'll Ever Need (2018)

Pape, Scott

 

Top Australian authors

 Rank

Title

Author

1

The Shepherd's Hut (2018)

Winton, Tim

2

Force of Nature (2017)

Harper, Jane

3

The Dry (2016)

Harper, Jane

4

Truly Madly Guilty (2016)

Moriarty, Liane

5

Nine Perfect Strangers (2018)

Moriarty, Liane

6

Sanctuary (2017)

Nunn, Judy

7

The Secrets She Keeps (2017)

Robotham, Michael

8

The Other Wife (2018)

Robotham, Michael

9

The Red Coast (2017)

Morrissey, Di

10

The 91-Storey Treehouse (2017)

Griffiths, Andy

 

Top biographies

 Rank

Title

Author

1

Working Class Man (2017)

Barnes, Jimmy

2

The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman's Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster (2017)

Krasnostein, Sarah

3

The Happiest Refugee: The Extraordinary True Story of a Boy's Journey from Starvation at Sea To Becoming One Of Australia's Best-Loved Comedians (2010)

Do, Anh

4

Working Class Boy (2016)

Barnes, Jimmy

5

Any Ordinary Day (2018)

Sales, Leigh

6

Reckoning: A Memoir (2015)

Szubanski, Magda

7

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women (2017)

Favilli, Elena

8

Becoming (2018)

Obama, Michelle

9

Unbreakable (2017)

Đokić, Jelena

10

Rather His Own Man: Reliable Memoirs (2018)

Robertson, Geoffrey

 

Top borrowed picture books

Rank

Title

Author

1

Pig the Star (2017)

Blabey, Aaron

2

Hickory Dickory Dash (2018)

Wilson, Tony

3

Pig the Pug (2014)

Blabey, Aaron

4

The Cow Tripped Over the Moon (2015)

Wilson, Tony

5

Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas (2015)

Blabey, Aaron

6

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969)

Carle, Eric

7

Too Many Elephants in This House (2012)

Dubosarsky, Ursula

8

The Gruffalo (1999)

Donaldson, Julia

9

Pig the Winner (2016)

Blabey, Aaron

10

Where the Wild Things Are (1975)

Sendak, Maurice

 

Top titles borrowed by juniors

Rank

Title

Author

1

The 91-Storey Treehouse (2017)

Griffiths, Andy

2

The Getaway (2017)

Kinney, Jeff

3

The 78-Storey Treehouse (2016)

Griffiths, Andy

4

Double Down (2016)

Kinney, Jeff

5

Old School (2015)

Kinney, Jeff

6

The 26-Storey Treehouse (2012)

Griffiths, Andy

7

The Long Haul (2014)

Kinney, Jeff

8

The 104-Storey Treehouse (2018)

Griffiths, Andy

9

The 65-Storey Treehouse (2015)

Griffiths, Andy

10

The 39-Storey Treehouse (2013)

Griffiths, Andy

 

Top titles borrowed by Young Adults

 Rank

Title

Author

1

The Fault in Our Stars (2012)

Green, John

2

Turtles All the Way Down (2017)

Green, John

3

Divergent (2011)

Roth, Veronica

4

The Hunger Games (2009)

Collins, Suzanne

5

The Maze Runner (2009)

Dashner, James

6

Double Down (2016)

Kinney, Jeff

7

The Getaway (2017)

Kinney, Jeff

8

Wonder (2012)

Palacio, R. J.

9

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2011)

Riggs, Ransom

10

Old School (2015)

Kinney, Jeff