The Most Popular Books In Libraries, January–March 2020

Once a quarter, Panorama Picks takes a deep dive into the data about ebook use at libraries across the U.S. It’s a fascinating look at not just the most popular ebooks in public libraries—they don’t stray too far from what you’d expect of the bestseller lists—but also at the books that are seeing uniquely high demand at libraries. These are books which are seeing a lot of interest but haven’t necessarily stayed atop bestseller lists for months and/or books with particular interest locally. The data looks at adult fiction, adult nonfiction, and young adult books (which includes fiction, nonfiction, and comics). Panorama Picks groups public libraries by coordinating American Bookseller Association (ABA) regions, which allows for a really neat way of exploring interest on a regional level. A book might be especially popular in California but less so in the Midwest, and looking at that data provides a real opportunity for local bookstores and libraries.

Panorama Picks took their data approach slightly different with the first quarter of 2020. Last year, they stuck to books published in a six-month window prior to the quarter. This year, publication date is now nine months out (January–September 2019) in order to get a fuller picture of the life and interest in books for library users.

“This unique program uses aggregated, anonymized hold list data from public libraries across the United States to identify recently published titles that have notably longer wait times for local library patrons—unmet demand that can help activate inventory, and identify opportunities for author events, read-alikes, and special promotions,” explains the website. “The quarterly lists surface a wide range of in-demand titles in their respective regions. Some are familiar titles that are enjoying sustained popularity; others are under-the-radar titles that might not have grabbed national attention but are generating notable local interest well past their initial publication date. In all cases they represent an opportunity for booksellers, publishers, and authors to better leverage public libraries’ power as a primary discovery channel for avid readers.”

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Project Lead for Panorama Picks, said by pushing the data to include data from books published in the nine months prior to the quarter, it gives a look at how some books retain major interest and unmet demand in libraries. This has showed itself differently in different regions, as well as categories.

“In trying to find the sweet spot between actionable bookseller opportunities and noting ones they may have missed, it’s another subtle indicator that some books have longer legs than others—and it can vary notably by region.”

Another thing that makes these lists special is how they tend to be not only more inclusive, but also they showcase a wide array of genre.

“Our primary goal with Panorama Picks remains arming regional booksellers with useful data from public libraries to help them identify recent books local readers are still interested in despite their promotional windows having passed. The current lists’ tweak to publication date—including books that published up to a full year ago—spotlights several ‘older’ books that are likely sitting spine out on their respective category shelves rather than being featured on a curated table of local picks. Or, more appropriately right now, in a promotional email to customers. With new releases finding it particularly difficult to garner attention right now, or being delayed until later in the year, serving unmet demand for books people already want to read is a good opportunity for booksellers and publishers,” said Gonzalez.

The lists below showcase the most uniquely popular books in U.S. libraries, divided category and by ABA regions. The ABA regions are as follows, and yes, there are some overlapping states among them: California, Great Lakes (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan), Hawaii, Midwest (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin), Mountains and Plains (Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming), New Atlantic (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia), New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont), Pacific Northwest (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington), and Southeast (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia).

First, a look at the most popular titles in libraries nationwide by category, regardless of ratio of holds to available copies (AKA the lists that won’t be too surprising). These books have the highest number of holds.

The Most Popular Books In Public Libraries, January–March 2020

Adult Fiction

  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney
  • City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
  • The Institute by Stephen King
  • The Book Women of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Adult Nonfiction

  • Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb
  • Talking To Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Know My Name by Chanel Miller
  • The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
  • Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
  • How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
  • Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham
  • Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
  • A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

Young Adult

  • American Royals by Katharine McGee
  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
  • Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
  • The Wicked King by Holly Black
  • Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
  • Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
  • The Lovely War by Julie Berry
  • House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
  • Wilder Girls by Rory Power
  • Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Now a look at the top 10 most uniquely popular books across the country, followed by the most uniquely popular books by region. The methodology for Panorama Picks means that the top ten national titles are identified by holds—those are above—and then regional lists are created, with those top ten titles pulled from the final data. The top 50 titles within each region are identified, then sorted by the number of holds and number of those titles available (AKA high demand books with a lower number of books available). Books without a print version, so ebook only titles, are pulled from the data. The remaining titles are sorted into a top 25.

Using that methodology, these are the top 10 most popular books across the country, in order.

The Most Uniquely Popular Books In Public Libraries, January–March 2020

Adult Fiction

There were 225 total titles on the list, with 56 of them being unique. Twenty titles appear only on one list—half on Hawaii’s list—while ten titles appeared on eight or more regional lists.

Most Popular Adult Fiction Titles (U.S.-Wide)

  • The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
  • The Ten Thousand Doorways of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  • This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
  • Recursion by Blake Crouch
  • Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  • Conviction by Denise Mina
  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
  • The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Most Popular Adult Fiction Titles—California

  • The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
  • The Ten Thousand Doorways of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  • The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger (released as an ebook in August 2019)
  • A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  • The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  • Recursion by Blake Crouch
  • The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

Most Popular Adult Fiction Titles—Great Lakes

  • The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
  • The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  • Recursion by Blake Crouch
  • Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
  • Conviction by Denise Mina

Most Popular Adult Fiction Titles—Hawaii

  • Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne
  • Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
  • Alpha’s Promise by Rebecca Zanetti
  • The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken
  • The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
  • The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
  • Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
  • Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
  • Recursion by Blake Crouch
  • The Only Woman In The Room by Marie Benedict

Most Popular Adult Fiction Titles—Midwest

  • The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
  • Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
  • The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  • Recursion by Blake Crouch
  • The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Most Popular Adult Fiction Titles—Mountains and PLains

  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
  • This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
  • The Thing We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  • The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
  • Recursion by Blake Crouch
  • Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
  • The Only Woman In The Room by Marie Benedict

Most Popular Adult Fiction Titles—New Atlantic

  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  • This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
  • The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  • Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
  • Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
  • This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
  • Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

Most Popular Adult Fiction Titles—New England

  • The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
  • This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
  • The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  • Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
  • Recursion by Blake Crouch

Most Popular Adult Fiction Titles—Pacific Northwest

  • Deep River by Karl Marlantes
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
  • The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
  • This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
  • Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  • Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
  • Exhalation by Ted Chiang

Most Popular Adult Fiction Titles—Southeast

  • The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
  • Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
  • The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
  • Recursion by Blake Crouch
  • Conviction by Denise Mina
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  • The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Adult Nonfiction

There were 225 total titles on the list, with 68 of them being unique. Thirty-one titles appear only on one list—11 on Hawaii’s list—while nine titles appeared on eight or more regional lists.

Most Popular Adult Nonfiction Titles (U.S.-Wide)

  • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
  • Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun
  • The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger
  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
  • Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein
  • Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski
  • Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez
  • Lifespan by David A. Sinclair
  • Indistractable by Nir Eyal

Most Popular Adult Nonfiction Titles—California

  • Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun
  • The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
  • The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger
  • Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown
  • Eight Dates by John Gottman
  • The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
  • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
  • Lifespan by David A. Sinclair
  • Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Most Popular Adult Nonfiction Titles—Great Lakes

  • Idiot by Laura Clery
  • The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger
  • Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun
  • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
  • The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
  • The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
  • Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein
  • Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez
  • Indistractable by Nir Eyal

Most Popular Adult Nonfiction Titles—hawaii

  • The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Own Food by Monte Burch
  • Damn Delicious Food Prep by Chungah Rhee
  • The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod
  • Dinner for Everyone by Mark Bittman
  • Quit Like A Millionaire by Kristy Shen
  • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff
  • Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
  • Signs by Laura Lynne Jackson
  • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
  • Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Caitlin Doughty

Most Popular Adult Nonfiction Titles—Midwest

  • High Achiever by Tiffany Jenkins
  • The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger
  • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
  • Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun
  • Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein
  • Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski
  • Indistractable by Nir Eyal
  • The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
  • 10% Happier by Dan Harris

Most Popular Adult Nonfiction Titles—Mountain and Plains

  • The Priesthood Power of Women by Barbara Morgan Gardner
  • Insights from a Prophet’s Life: Russell M. Nelson by Sheri Dew
  • Silent Souls Weeping: Depression by Jane Clayson Johnson
  • The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
  • Eight Dates by John Gottman
  • Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun
  • Burnout by Emily and Amelia agoski
  • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
  • The Only Plane In The Sky by Garrett M. Graff
  • Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty

Most Popular Adult Nonfiction Titles—New Atlantic

  • The Anarchy by William Dalrymple
  • Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun
  • The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger
  • Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown
  • Signs by Laura Lynne Jackson
  • Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez
  • The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
  • How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff
  • Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come by Jessica Pan

Most Popular Adult Nonfiction Titles—New England

  • Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun
  • The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger
  • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff
  • Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein
  • Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown
  • The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
  • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
  • Signs by Laura Lynne Jackson
  • Lifespan by David A. Sinclair
  • The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

Most Popular Adult Nonfiction Titles—Pacific Northwest

  • The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook by Nisha Vora
  • Prepared by Diane Tavenner
  • Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown
  • Eight Dates by John Gottman
  • The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
  • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
  • Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski
  • Indistractable by Nir Eyal
  • Quit Like A Millionaire by Kristy Shen
  • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff

Most Popular Adult Nonfiction Titles—Southeast

  • The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger
  • The Anarchy by William Dalrymple
  • Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun
  • Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come by Jessica Pan
  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
  • The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff
  • The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
  • Eight Dates by John Gottman
  • Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein
  • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies

Young Adult

There were 225 total titles on the list, with 65 of them being unique. Twenty-six titles appear only on one list—12 on Hawaii’s list—while eight titles appeared on eight or more regional lists. Two authors in the Young Adult category had two titles each.

There might be fewer than 10 titles on some of these lists, indicating there was a tie among some of the titles.

Most Popular Young Adult Titles (U.S.-Wide)

  • Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford
  • Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
  • Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki
  • Frankly in Love by David Yoon
  • I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones
  • Maybe This Time by Kasie West
  • The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

Most Popular Young Adult Titles—California

  • It’s Trevor Noah by Trevor Noah
  • Bloom by Kevin Panetta
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki
  • I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deavor
  • Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
  • Only Ashes Remain by Rebecca Schaeffer
  • Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian
  • Dig by A.S. King
  • Frankly In Love by David Yoon

Most Popular Young Adult Titles—Great Lakes

  • Bloom by Kevin Panetta
  • Pretend She’s Here by Luanne Rice
  • It’s Trevor Noah by Trevor Noah
  • Capturing The Devil by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Dig by A.S. King
  • Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki
  • I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver
  • I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones
  • Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia

Most Popular Young Adult Titles—Hawaii

  • Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian
  • This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura
  • Permanent Record by Mary HK Choi
  • The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton
  • The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson
  • Vow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
  • Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
  • Like A Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
  • Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
  • Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford

Most Popular Young Adult Titles—Midwest

  • My Hero Academia, Volume 19 by Kohei Horikoshi
  • Pretend She’s Here by Luanne Rice
  • It’s Trevor Noah by Trevor Noah
  • Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki
  • Bloom by Kevin Panetta
  • The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
  • The Deceiver’s Heart by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian
  • Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

Most Popular Young Adult Titles—Mountain and Plains

  • My Hero Academia, Volume 20 by Kohei Horikoshi
  • Rated by Melissa Grey
  • My Hero Academia, Volume 19 by Kohei Horikoshi
  • Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia
  • Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian
  • Pretend She’s Here by Luanne Rice
  • Maybe This Time by Kasie West
  • Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariki Tamaki
  • The Deceiver’s Heart by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Most Popular Young Adult Titles—New Atlantic

  • It’s Trevor Noah by Trevor Noah
  • Only Ashes Remain by Rebecca Schaeffer
  • Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian
  • Frankly In Love by David Yoon
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
  • I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver
  • Bloom by Kevin Panetta
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki
  • Avatar, The Last Airbender by F.C. Yee
  • Maybe This Time by Kasie West

Most Popular Young Adult Titles—New England

  • It’s Trevor Noah by Trevor Noah
  • Only Ashes Remain by Rebecca Schaeffer
  • Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
  • Pretend She’s Here by Luanne Rice
  • I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver
  • There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
  • Maybe This Time by Kasie West
  • The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
  • Spin The Dark by Elizabeth Lim

Most Popular Young Adult Titles—Pacific Northwest

  • My Hero Academia, Volume 20 by Kohei Horikoshi
  • Only Ashes Remain by Rebecca Schaeffer
  • My Hero Academia, Volume 19 by Kohei Horikoshi
  • I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deavor
  • It’s Trevor Noah by Trevor Noah
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
  • Bloom by Kevin Panetta
  • Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford
  • Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki

Most Popular Young Adult Titles—Southeast

  • Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki
  • I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones
  • Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian
  • Bloom by Kevin Panetta
  • Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford
  • It’s Trevor Noah by Trevor Noah
  • The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
  • The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
  • Frankly in Love by David Yoon
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