Rakuten Kobo’s 2018 Bestselling Ebooks and Reading Trends in Canada

In News by Porter Anderson

They’re reading an average 73 hours per year, says Canada’s big ebook and audiobook service, and Rakuten Kobo sees a lot of US politics on its most-read lists in 2018.

Image – iStockphoto: Prospective 56

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Audio: Reading One Genre, Listening to Another
Today (December 12), Toronto-based Rakuten Kobo has issued a set of 2018 observations on e-reading trends that show a strong national preference for the highly internationalized platform and its devices.

Among the most interesting observations offered, Kobo is reporting that in its global purview, Canadian patrons are its most eager readers, some of its top consumers reading a prodigious eight hours per day.

The average, Kobo reports, is 73 hours spent reading for the year by Canadian patrons of the service.

Biggest reading day? Sunday. “Our theory,” the Kobo team writes, is that “it’s the best way to beat the Sunday blues, by relaxing and enjoying your favorite book.”

Top 10 Bestselling Ebooks at Kobo in 2018
  1. The Woman in the Window – AJ Finn
  2. Origin –  Dan Brown
  3. The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
  4. Fire and Fury – Michael Wolff
  5. The Lightkeeper’s Daughters – Jean E. Pendziwol
  6. The Fallen – David Baldacci
  7. Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan
  8. The President Is Missing – James Patterson
  9. Fear – Bob Woodward
  10. Year One – Nora Roberts
The Top 10 Titles Actually Finished

Here’s an interesting follow-up: Kobo is also naming the titles that were finished most frequently, of the Top 100 bestselling Canadian titles:

  1. The 17th Suspect – James Patterson
  2. The Wife – Alafair Burke
  3. The Great Alone – Kristin Hannah
  4. The Home for Unwanted Girls – Joanna Goodman
  5. The Late Show – Michael Connelly
  6. The Party – Robyn Harding
  7. It’s Always the Husband – Michele Campbell
  8. The Key – Kathryn Hughes
  9. Still Me – Jojo Moyes
  10. China Rich Girlfriend – Kevin Kwan
Audiobook Titles at Kobo in 2018

As in many cultures, reading seems to be being relegated to travel times, especially to and from work: “Canadians read on the road, with the busiest reading time being during the morning and evening commute, as well into the evening hours.”

And that, of course, brings audio to mind. Are they listening as much as—or more than—they’re reading?

The emphasis in the next sentence is ours, because we think this is an intriguing point about audio, one that—for all the discussion around audiobooks out there today—we rarely are encountering:

“What we know about audiobooks,” the company’s media messaging has it, “is that people often read different genres than they listen to, and that usually ends up being nonfiction, which makes self-help and motivational audiobooks among our top sellers.

“As you can see, Canadians are interested in learning how to loosen up, or as author Mark Manson would say, learning to not give a F*ck.”

  1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
  2. 12 Rules for Life – Jordan B. Peterson
  3. The Woman in the Window – AJ Finn
  4. Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
  5. Fear – Bob Woodward
  6. Fire and Fury – Michael Wolff
  7. Becoming – Michelle Obama
  8. The Outsider – Stephen King
  9. The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter
  10. Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan
You Ought To Be in Pictures

And in terms of that growing proximity of publishing we see in the business to such “adjacent industries” as film and television, we notice that Kobo has looked at 2018 for which of its most read work has action in Hollywood.

“The year 2018 was particularly rich for book-to-film adaptations,” the Kobo team writes.

Crazy Rich Asians raked in $139.8 million at the box office, making it the biggest romantic comedy since The Proposal in 2009.

“AJ Finn tops the list with The Woman in the Window as the bestseller of 2018, and is another example of how books and film intersect to bring great stories to life. This novel, which debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list, is being adapted for the big screen, with a theatrical release scheduled for October 4.

“In addition, seven out of Rakuten Kobo’s 10 best selling eBooks this year are rumored to be adapted for the big screen.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on Kobo is here. And more in our Industry Notes series is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.