Wilson tops decade as most borrowed author
12.02.10 | Benedicte Page


Children’s books, romantic fiction and crime/thrillers have been the enduring ­staples of the nation’s public library borrowing over the past decade, according to statistics from the Public Lending Right (PLR).

Prolific writer Jacqueline Wilson tops the league as the UK’s most borrowed author of the Noughties, clocking up over 16 million public library loans between 1999 and 2009.

Wilson’s The Story of Tracy Beaker was the most borrowed title of the decade, closely followed by J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Meanwhile, second and third in the author popularity league are the equally prolific Danielle Steel and Catherine Cookson, who both had more than 14 million loans of their titles across the Noughties. Cookson’s novels The Thursday Friend, The Blind Years and The Lady on My Left were the three most borrowed adult fiction titles of the past decade, each borrowed over 300,000 times.

The top 10 library authors provide a contrast to the top 10 bestselling authors of the decade, led by J K Rowling (over 27 million sales), Dan Brown (over 13 million sales) and Mr Men creator Roger Hargreaves (over 11 million).

In non-fiction, meanwhile, the decade’s most borrowed cookery book is Delia’s How to Cook: Book One, while Dave ­Pelzer’s A Child Called It tops biography, Alan Tichmarsh’s How to be a Gardener: Book Two heads in gardening, and Antony Beevor’s Berlin: The Downfall 1945 leads in history. Bill Bryson features twice: with most borrowed travel book (Down Under) and most borrowed science book (A Short History of Nearly Everything). Dickie Bird’s White Cap and Bails is the most borrowed sports biography of the decade.

Most borrowed authors 1999-2009
1 Jacqueline Wilson > 16 million
2 Danielle Steel > 14 million
3 Catherine Cookson > 14 million
4 Josephine Cox > 13 million
5 James Patterson > 11 million
6 RL Stine > 10 million
7 Mick Inkpen > 10 million
8 Janet & Allan Ahlberg > 9 million
9 Roald Dahl > 8 million
10 Agatha Christie > 8 million

Total number borrowed: 118,281,613
Source: PLR data

Bestselling authors (2000 to 2009)
1 J K Rowling >27 million
2 Dan Brown >13 million
3 Roger Hargreaves >11 million
4 Jacqueline Wilson >11 million
5 Richard Parsons > 9 million
6 Terry Pratchett > 8 million
7 John Grisham > 8 million
8 Danielle Steel > 7 million
9 James Patterson > 7 million
10 Jamie Oliver > 7 million

Total books sold: 112,025,816
Source: Nielsen BookScan

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