Revealed: Top 10 books Norfolk is downloading to read during isolation

The most popular eBooks downloaded from Norfolk's library service have been revealed. Picture: Canon

The most popular eBooks downloaded from Norfolk's library service have been revealed. Picture: Canongate Books/Ian West/Hannah Hutchins/National Centre for Writing/PA/Cornerstone Digital - Credit: Canongate Books/Ian West/Hannah Hutchins/National Centre for Writing/PA/Cornerstone Digital

The books which people in Norfolk have been downloading to help them get through isolation during the coronavirus have been revealed, with historical fiction and steamy romance among the most popular borrowing choices.

Hilary Mantel. Picture: YUI MOK/PA IMAGES

Hilary Mantel. Picture: YUI MOK/PA IMAGES - Credit: PA

The county’s libraries have closed due to the pandemic, but keen readers have been borrowing downloadable eBooks from Norfolk Library and Information Service, with almost 20,000 borrowed in March.

There have been more than 800 new sign-ups to the service.

Hilary Mantel’s recently released bestseller The Mirror And The Light - the conclusion of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy - was the most borrowed adult book, with Kate Grenville’s The Secret River and Searching For The Secret River in second spot.

The 24th book in Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series - Blue Moon - was third, with Costa winner Sebastian Barry’s A Thousand Moons fourth and The Dilemma by BA Paris fifth. EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey follow-up Fifty Shades Darker was at number 10.

Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher books. Pic: Ian West/PA Wire

Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher books. Pic: Ian West/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Jan Holden, head of libraries and information at Norfolk County Council, said: “The amount of money we spend on eBooks increased in March, and we will continue to purchase new e-material. For example we spent £18,000 on new eBooks in March compared to our usual monthly spend of £3,750. We expect to continue to increase the amount of e-content available.


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“The library service is still open for business, with more eBooks and eAudio being purchased and a new creative and inspiring offer online, ranging from podcasts to video tutorials and from bounce and rhyme to poetry reading.

“Library staff continue to work hard to plan, produce and support lots of online activity that is available to our customers at home. They are having to learn new skills and overcome technical challenges, talk to publishers to clear copyright and do lots of things to get the offer available.”

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Before the county’s libraries closed their doors last month, there was a blitz by borrowing, with 132,475 books and 3,797 DVDs loaned out over three days - almost four times the usual number.

Fifty Shades Darker by E L James. Pic: Archant Library.

Fifty Shades Darker by E L James. Pic: Archant Library. - Credit: Archant

The council has removed overdue charges and is automatically renewing loans.

People can find out more about what is on offer here.

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The Secret River by Kate Grenville. Pic: Archant Library

The Secret River by Kate Grenville. Pic: Archant Library

Top 10 most borrowed adult books

1. Hilary Mantel ‘The Mirror And The Light’

2. Kate Grenville ‘The Secret River and Searching For The Secret River’

3. Lee Child ‘Blue Moon’

Jan Holden, Norfolk County Council's head of libraries and information. Picture: Hannah Hutchins/Nat

Jan Holden, Norfolk County Council's head of libraries and information. Picture: Hannah Hutchins/National Centre for Writing - Credit: Hannah Hutchins/National Centre

4. Sebastian Barry ‘A Thousand Moons’

5. BA Paris ‘The Dilemma’

6. Helenkay Dimon ‘The Experiment’

7. Deborah Levy ‘The Man Who Saw Everything’

8. Tim Weaver ‘No One Home’

9. Simon Beckett ‘Whispers Of The Dead’

10. EL James ‘Fifty Shades Darker’

Top 5 most borrowed children/teen titles

1. Anne-Marie Conway ‘Butterfly Summer’

2. Ann M Martin ‘How To Look For A Lost Dog’

3. Raina Telgemeier ‘Guts: Smile Series’

4. Lincoln Pierce ‘The Complete Big Nate volume 4’

5. Lara Williamson ‘Just Call Me Spaghetti-Hoop Boy’

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