Library users favour fiction over non-fiction, with 50% of all loans being adult fiction titles while non-fiction accounts for just a fifth of loans, according to the first publicly released LibScan statistics.
As Nielsen's library book loan tracking service reaches its first birthday, LibScan statistics confirm that library goers like crime and saga authors. Non-fiction titles are less popular in libraries than in bookshops, with only 20% of library loans comprising adult non-fiction titles, significantly less than through the TCM where the proportion stands at 35%.
Fiona Marriott, principal librarian for adult services at Luton libraries, said: "It doesn't surprise me that library loans are different from book sales; our strength has always been the range of books we can offer. We may struggle to keep up with the request list for the latest Stephenie Meyer, but our backlist is huge in comparison to the average bookshop.
"The other thing that libraries offer is word of mouth and personal recommendations, from the staff and from other customers."
Tony Durcan, head of Newcastle libraries, said one reason for the difference is because libraries provide and promote less well-known authors and carry a range of stock that is out of print.
LibScan rankings are derived from a panel comprising around 10% of all UK public libraries, which are then collated by Nielsen in Woking.
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