24th July 2018

Lust for money joins Australians' and New Zealanders’ lust for blood in the most borrowed library books Index

Readers continue to love crime and thriller novels, but Scott Pape’s “The Barefoot Investor” makes an appearance in Civica’s Annual Libraries Index indicating that everyday financial fears are also real

Sydney, 23 July, 2018: For the third year in a row, the 2018 Civica Libraries Index sees Australian and New Zealanders continuing to thirst for crime and thriller stories, with these titles dominating the list once again. However, people’s desire for trusted independent financial advice has resulted in Scott Pape’s “The Barefoot Investor” dominating the non-fiction category and being the fifth most borrowed book nationwide.

Civica, a leading supplier of critical software applications, digital solutions and managed services that help transform the way organisations work, has partnered with the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) to announce the 2018 Civica Libraries Index annual findings. The index, in its 3rd year now, leverages regional and metropolitan data from Australia and New Zealand compiled through Civica’s Spydus - a system developed in Australia and used by more than 2,500 libraries worldwide.

Lee Child’s “Night School” topped the list of the most borrowed; it is the 21st book in the Jack Reacher series and depicts his army experience in the 1990s. This series proves to be an extremely popular choice, with three books making it in the top 10: Night School (#1), No Middle Name (#4), and Make Me (#9). 

“The Wrong Side of Goodbye” by Michael Connelly, a crime novel that follows Los Angeles Police Department Harry Bosch, and “The Whistler” by John Grisham, a thriller which explores the legal and moral issues around Native American gaming, came a close second and third of the most borrowed.

Scott Pape’s “The Barefoot Investor: the only Money Guide you’ll ever need” takes fifth place and is the only non-fiction book in the Top 20. Pape is an Australian investment advisor, author, and radio commentator based in Melbourne. This success of his book can be attributed to Pape’s clear and simple writing and sound advice in a climate of financial insecurity for many people. According the Neilson BookScan which surveys Australian book retailers, The Barefoot Investor was the bestselling book of 2017, so it’s no surprise that it was also highly sought after in libraries.

Great annual results

According to Sue McKerracher, Chief Executive Officer of ALIA, “book borrowing in libraries follows retail trends, so bestsellers are mirrored in the ‘most borrowed’ list. We’ve worked with publishers and bookshops to promote Australian books and it is good to see that five of the top 20 authors are home grown talents.”

Simon Jones, Managing Director of Libraries and Education Solutions at Civica, believes that these borrowing trends reinforce the important role libraries play as crucial hubs within communities.

“Modern day visitors aren’t visiting libraries just for entertainment; they come to libraries to improve their lives, be it financially through The Barefoot Investor or the hundreds of other financial advice resources, or educationally to improve their literacy. Libraries are a place where the exchange and development of ideas occur and in order to engage with customers and meet their rising expectations, it’s important to facilitate services both physically and digitally to foster these interactions,” said Jones.

Index highlights

Most borrowed

According to the 2018 Civica Libraries Index, novels within the crime, thriller and mystery genres was once again the genre which dominated this list of most borrowed library books in Australia and New Zealand.

Lee Child’s ‘Night School’ which was released in 2016, topped the list with Michael Connelly’s ‘The Wrong Side of Goodbye’ following after. Some popular authors on the list are: James Patterson, David Baldacci and John Grisham.

Non fiction

Business and finance was the topic of this year’s index with Scott Pape’s ‘Barefoot Investor’ topping the list. Diet and health was another contending genre with two books ‘Gut’ by Giulia Enders and ‘I Quit Sugar’ by Sarah Wilson placing sixth and eighth respectively.


Once again, Magda Szubanski’s autobiography released in 2016, ‘Reckoning’ topped this year’s list of most borrowed biography books. The memoir explores her family history and the life of her father as an assassin during World War II. The book also placed second on the non-fiction list.

Children’s and Young adult books

A standout in the children’s list was Andy Griffiths’ comedy treehouse series which combines text and cartoon-style illustrations to tell stories for ages ranging from seven to 12. His seven books on the list- 91, 65, 78, 52, 26, 13 and 39- storey treehouse took out the top seven ranks, with the first book of the series, released five years ago, in sixth position.

The young adult section has a clear winner, with seven out of eight books belonging to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world of Harry Potter. In particular, two books of the seven were separate to the main series: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and Jack Thorne’s “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”.

CIVICA 2018 Libraries Index

Most borrowed

  Title Author
1 Night School (2016) Lee Child
2 The Wrong Side of Goodbye (2016) Michael Connelly
3 The Whistler (2016) John Grisham
4 No Middle Name (2017) Lee Child
5 The Barefoot Investor: the only Money Guide you’ll ever need Scott Pape
6 Truly Madly Guilty (2016) Liane Moriarty
7 The Dry (2016) Jane Harper
8 Into the Water (2017) Paula Hawkins
9 Make Me (2015) Lee Child
10 The Fix (2017) David Baldacci
11 No Man’s Land (2016) David Baldacci
12 Never Never (2016) James Patterson
13 16th Seduction (2017) James Patterson
14 The Late Show (2017) Michael Connelly
15 A Distant Journey (2016) Di Morrissey
16 The Last Mile (2016) David Baldacci
17 The Good People (2016) Hannah Kent
18 Camino Island (2017) John Grisham
19 Rogue Lawyer (2015) John Grisham
20 Personal (2014) Lee Child

Top Non-Fiction

  Title Author
1 The Barefoot Investor (2016) Scott Pape
2 Reckoning (2015) Magda Szubanski
3 The Life-changing Magic of Tidying (2014) Marie Kondo
4 Working Class Boy (2016) Jimmy Barnes
5 Everywhere I Look (2016) Helen Garner
6 Gut (2015) Giulia Enders
7 ABC Reading Eggs: Dogs and Cats (2009) Katy Pike
8 I Quit Sugar (2017) Sarah Wilson
9 First, We Make the Beast Beautiful (2017) Sarah Wilson
10 After (2017) N.J. Germmell

Top Biographies

  Title Author
1 Reckoning (2015)  Magda Szubanski
2 Working Class Boy (2016) Jimmy Barnes
3 Everywhere I Look (2016) Helen Garner
4 The Happiest Refugee (2010) Anh Do
5 When Breath becomes Air (2016) Paul Kalanithi
6 Lion (2016)  Saroo Brierley
7 The Boy Behind the Curtain (2016) Tim Winton
8 The House on the Hill (2016) Susan Duncan
9 Hidden Figures (2016) Margot Lee Shetterly
10 Light and Shadow (2016) Mark Colvin

Top Australian Books

  Title Author
1 Truly Madly Guilty (2016) Liane Moriarty
2 A Distant Journey (2016) Di Morrissey
3 The Dry (2016) Jane Harper
4 Big Little Lies (2014) Liane Moriarty
5 The 65-storey Treehouse (2015) Andy Griffiths
6 Force of Nature (2017) Jane Harper
7 The Good People (2016) Hannah Kent
8 The Secrets She Keeps (2017) Michael Robotham
9 Rain Music (2015) Di Morrissey
10 The 91-storey Treehouse (2017) Andy Griffiths

Top Young Adult Books

  Title Author
1 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Parts One and Two (2016)
Jack Thorne
2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997) J.K. Rowling
3 The Dark Prophecy (2017) Rick Riordan
4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007) J.K. Rowling
5 Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix (2003) J.K. Rowling
6 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999) J.K. Rowling
7 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay (2001) J.K. Rowling
8 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998) J.K. Rowling

Top Picture Books

  Title Author
1 Thea Stilton and the Chocolate Sabotage (2014) Thea Stilton
2 The Princess Twins and the Birthday Party (2016) Mona Gansberg Hodgson
3 Alexandria and the Royal Baby Fairy (2016) Daisy Meadows
4 Spot’s Birthday Party (2015) Eric Hill
5 Meet the Knights (2016) Julia March
6 Monster Battles (2016) Julia March
7 The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog (2004) Mo Willems
8 Dance Challenge (2014) Thea Stilton
9 School Bus Trip (2014) Ellen Philpott
10 Dogs and Cats (2009) Katy Pike

Top Children Books 

  Title Author
1 The 91-storey Treehouse (2017) Andy Griffiths
2 The 65-storey Treehouse (2017) Andy Griffiths
3 The 78-storey Treehouse (2017) Andy Griffiths
4 The 52-storey Treehouse (2017) Andy Griffiths
5 The 26-storey Treehouse (2017) Andy Griffiths
6 The 13-storey Treehouse (2017) Andy Griffiths
7 The 39-storey Treehouse (2017) Andy Griffiths
8 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2014) Jeff Kinney
9 Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (1999) Dav Pilkey
10 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2009) Jeff Kinney


The Civica Libraries Index is compiled in partnership with participating libraries using the Civica Spydus integrated library management system. Loan data is collected, compiled and analysed for the calendar year for a range of audiences and categories. Civica reviewed more than 30 million library book loans across Australia to help determine the country’s most popular books. Data was gathered over a 12 month period from June 2017 to May 2018. All information on borrowing behaviours is collected anonymously. Civica is Australia’s leading provider of library information, collection, and management solutions.


The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is the professional organisation for the Australian library and information services sector. With 5,000 members across Australia, we provide the national voice of the profession in the development, promotion and delivery of quality library and information services, through leadership, advocacy and mutual support. www.alia.org.au  


Civica (www.civica.com) is a market-leading specialist in business critical software applications, digital solutions and managed services that help teams and organisations around the world to transform the way they work. Combining exceptional customer focus, experience and commitment, Civica supplies more than 3,000 major organisations in 10 countries around the world.