A MONEY-saving Jamie Oliver cookbook was a more popular draw than the independence white paper, Scotland’s Future, in Edinburgh’s libraries over the past year.
The appetite for the celebrity chef’s best-seller Save With Jamie outstripped demand for the weighty volume which the SNP hoped would win over undecided voters.
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There were also more requests for travel guides to Portugal, Spain and Italy in the city’s libraries than the Scottish Government’s 670-page blueprint.
More than 110,000 copies of Alex Salmond’s vision for an independent Scotland were ordered in three months of release, at a cost of £1.2 million.
But there was more demand for the official guidebook for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s theory test.
The white paper, published amid much fanfare in November 2013, did however manage to fight off a challenge from a Stamps of the World catalogue, which claimed ninth place in the list of the most popular non-fiction titles compiled by the Edinburgh City Libraries service.
Other books to feature in the top ten included Where Memories Go, broadcaster Sally Magnusson’s memoir about her late mother’s battle with dementia, and The Railway Man, the autobiography of former prisoner of war Eric Lomax, which was turned into a blockbuster film with Colin Firth playing the late Edinburgh war hero.
Another title inspired by the referendum, Blossom, by Scotsman columnist and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch, was in the top 20, along with a book on the downfall of former RBS chief executive Fred Goodwin, by Iain Martin, a former editor of The Scotsman.
Kate Atkinson fought off a challenge from fellow Edinburgh author Ian Rankin to win the honour of the most borrowed fiction title, with Life After Life, which won her the Costa Book Awards prize for best novel and the South Bank Show Sky Arts literature award.
Rankin claimed two places in the top ten with his most recent books, which saw the return of Inspector Rebus.
It was an honour shared with JK Rowling, whose crime novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, which came fourth in the list, was written under a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith.
Other crime writers to feature in the top 20 fiction list include Peter May, creator of the Lewis Trilogy, Val McDermid, Stuart MacBride and Denise Mina.
More than three million titles were borrowed from Edinburgh’s libraries, which have a total book stock of almost 1.4 million, over the last 12 months. Almost 250,000 people attended events in the city’s libraries. The top 20s have been revealed just weeks after it emerged that Edinburgh Central Library on George IV Bridge saw visitor numbers rise by 188 per cent after a major overhaul.
Richard Lewis, culture leader at Edinburgh city council, said: “People were really engaged with the politics of the independence Referendum this year, with Scotland’s Future – the white paper – being listed in the top 20 non-fiction list proof of that. Edinburgh’s tastes are certainly eclectic, with travel, knitting and driving lessons all popular non-fiction picks. The variety goes to show that there is something for everyone and to suit all tastes waiting to be discovered in our libraries.
“Edinburgh authors have always had a fascination with crime and horror. Against this literary history, it isn’t surprising that its residents have developed a taste for dark novels.
“We’ve seen the number of visits to Edinburgh’s libraries rise steadily over the last few years. Part of the success is down to promotional campaigns such as Book Week Scotland and author visits.”
1 Portugal (travel guide)
2 Save with Jamie, Jamie Oliver
3 Where Memories Go, Sally Magnusson
4 The Official DSA theory test for car drivers
5 Spain (travel guide)
6 Italy (travel guide)
7 Scotland’s Future
8 Stamps of the World: Stanley Gibbons Simplified Catalogue
9 France (travel guide)
10 The Railway Man, Eric Lomax
11 Making It Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the Men Who Blew Up the British Economy, Iain Martin
12 Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War, Max Hastings
13 This Boy, Alan Johnson
14 Blossom: a Journey Beyond Independence, Lesley Riddoch
15 Philomena: a Mother, Her Son and a Fifty Year Search, Martin Sixsmith
16 Sane New World: Taming the Mind, Ruby Wax
17 Easy Knitting: 30 Projects to Make for Your Home and to Wear
18 The Examined Life, Stephen Grosz
19 London (travel guide)
20 Love, Nina: Despatches from a Family Life, Nina Stibbe
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