May 26, 2022

Lists: The Most Borrowed Books in Australia and New Zealand (2018 Civica Libraries Index)

From the Civica:

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 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.


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”.

Direct to Complete Announcement and Seven Top 20 and Top 10 Lists

Announcement Also Available via Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.