16 December 2020 Blogs

Top Syndetics Unbound Titles of 2020

Ever wonder what patrons are searching for in library catalogs? We have the answers for 2020, aggregated from all the public libraries that use Syndetics Unbound.

United States

Top Fifteen

These were the top fifteen most searched-for books of 2020 in US public libraries.

  1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  2. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
  3. Camino Winds by John Grisham
  4. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  5. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  6. The Guest List: A Novel by Lucy Foley
  7. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
  8. Walk the Wire by David Baldacci
  9. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  10. 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
  11. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
  12. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  13. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
  14. Fair Warning by Michael Connelly
  15. The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

Month by Month

The top books above are mostly popular books that stayed popular for much of the year. Others were released mid-year, or went up and down more rapidly. Month by month the top books were:

  • January. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • February. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
  • March. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • April. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • May. Camino Winds by John Grisham
  • June. White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  • July. Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump
  • August. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
  • September. All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny
  • October. A Time for Mercy by John Grisham
  • November. A Time for Mercy by John Grisham
  • December (so far). Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

The Summer of Anti-Racism Books

The George Floyd protests began in Minneapolis on May 26, in reaction to the homicide of George Floyd at the hands of police the previous day. Black Lives Matter protests spread across the country by early June. Librarians responded by compiling and promoting lists of anti-racist titles, and patrons sought them out in the catalog.

The chart below shows the percentage of searches for a number of popular titles. All dates are for the first day of a seven-day week. As you can see, searches peaked in early June, when these four titles alone comprised almost 4% of catalog searches.

Other Countries

Here are some top-ten most searched-for titles from public libraries around the world.

United Kingdom

  1. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
  2. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  3. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  4. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
  5. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
  6. The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths
  7. Normal People by Sally Rooney
  8. Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith
  9. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  10. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Australia

  1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  2. The Survivors by Jane Harper
  3. Boy Swallows Universe: A Novel by Trent Dalton
  4. The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
  5. The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan
  6. Normal People by Sally Rooney
  7. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
  8. The Yield: A Novel by Tara June Winch
  9. Dark Emu: Black Seeds Agriculture or Accident? by Bruce Pascoe
  10. Grown-Ups by Marian Keyes

Canada

  1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  2. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
  3. Camino Winds by John Grisham
  4. Walk the Wire by David Baldacci
  5. Fair Warning by Michael Connelly
  6. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  7. All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny
  8. The Guest List: A Novel by Lucy Foley
  9. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
  10. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

How Do We Know?

This data was collected by Syndetics Unbound. The search data is fully anonymized the day it is collected. As the Coronavirus lockdowns caused a significant drop in catalog searches, and Syndetics Unbound added new libraries continuously throughout the year, we levelled the playing field by treating all months as equal in size.

For more information about Syndetics Unbound, please visit Syndetics.com.