What are the most borrowed books from UK libraries?

Circa 2009, three out of the top four are by James Patterson.  Eventually Ian Rankin and Ruth Rendell make the list.  Dan Brown I believe too many people have bought or already read.  None of the Booker Final Six from the previous year make the list.

Catherine Cookson used to dominate these metrics but she has been swamped by American popular authors and is down to number ten for the decade.  Number one for the noughties is in fact Jacqueline Wilson. That's an odd status to hold: "worth reading, just not worth buying."

A broader point is that non-fiction does very poorly on the "most borrowed" list.  I'll offer up the hypothesis that low-brow fiction is what most people actually want to read, whereas many people will buy but not read non-fiction, for purposes of affiliation with the author or the concepts associated with the book.

Overall borrowers are more conservative than buyers, in the literal sense of wanting to borrow the same authors over and over again, yet in different titles.

Hat tip goes to the always-excellent Literary Saloon.


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