Romance is dead for Scots readers

Friday 12 February 2010

As we approach Valentine’s Day and romance is all around, figures released today by the Public Lending Right show that Scottish readers are more attracted to tales of crime than love stories.

The Public Lending Right’s lending statistics for libraries in Scotland contains no romantic fiction titles in the top ten but features seven crime novels and three children’s titles.

According to the PLR statistics, Tiddler by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, a children’s picture book about a story-telling fish, was the most borrowed book in Scottish libraries for 2008/9.

Ian Rankin remains hugely popular, with three books in the Top 10 Most Borrowed Titles list. Also a hit with Scottish borrowers is US writer James Patterson, who was today revealed as the Most Borrowed Author in libraries across the UK as a whole for the third year running.

Commenting on the declining interest in romantic fiction, SLIC Director, Elaine Fulton, said: “Crime novels are so successful in topping these charts each year because they appeal to a broad readership. However, chick lit, well-known brands like Mills and Boon and family sagas remain very popular with library readers.

“Libraries lend over 25 million books per year and we have a range of different formats – audio, MP3, large print, etc.

“There are some signs of romance in this year’s PLR statistics and Alan Titchmarsh’s Folly heads the most borrowed romantic novels, which still appeal to a large, mainly female, audience.”

The PLR Act became law in 1979 and plays a crucial role in the UK’s creative economy by providing vital financial support to the nation’s writers.

Public libraries across the country accumulate lending figures by ISBN. The PLR office collates this data and uses it to make payments to authors on the basis of how often their books have been lent out.

PLR is funded by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). In 2010, PLR will distribute £6.76 million to 23,241 authors at a rate of 6.29 pence per loan.

Data released by Public Lending Right (PLR) shows which books and authors proved most popular with library borrowers between July 2008 and June 2009.


  1. Tiddler, Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
  2. Sail, James Patterson
  3. Doors Open, Ian Rankin
  4. Exit Music, Ian Rankin
  5. 7th Heaven, James Patterson with Maxine Paetro
  6. Stick Man, Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
  7. The Overlook, Michael Connelly
  8. The Naming of the Dead, Ian Rankin
  9. You’ve Been Warned, James Patterson & Howard Roughan
  10. My Sister Jodie, Jacqueline Wilson



  1. Sail, James Patterson
  2. No Time for Goodbye, Linwood Barclay
  3. 7th Heaven, James Patterson with Maxine Paetro
  4. You’ve Been Warned, James Patterson with Howard Roughan
  5. The Outcast, Sadie Jones
  6. Nothing to Lose, Lee Child
  7. The Front, Patricia Cornwell
  8. Hold Tight, Harlan Coben
  9. The Appeal, John Grisham
  10. Friday Nights, Joanna Trollope


Contact name and details

SLIC: Elaine Fulton, Director 01698 458888

PLR: Becca Wyatt: 01798 867117 or Caroline Sanderson: 01453 759889

Notes to editors

About SLIC

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library and information matters. SLIC was established in 1991 and is funded by organisational membership subscriptions. The Scottish Government partially funds the Council in its work and The National Library of Scotland also contributes financial assistance. SLIC members include all local authority, higher education and further education institutions, NHS Trust library services and other specialist library and information organisations.