Holiday perennial favourites: Fiction

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We all have ideas of what the big bestsellers are going to be over the holidays this year, we're looking at you Dan Brown and Rupi Kaur, but what books do Canadians tend to pick up to stuff stockings and give as Hanukkah gifts year-over-year?

Core backlist, titles that can sell steadily for years at a time, is a staple of any subject category. And since BNC SalesData has tracked Canadian print book sales for more than 10 years, we have enough data to determine the long-standing bestsellers in each subject category. So, in order to help booksellers, we've put together a list of perennial bestsellers for the holidays! It's important to recognize that these may not be the biggest sellers — they may never have even made it onto a bestseller list — but they consistently sell well and, in that sense, are tried and true.

You may have seen our perennial bestseller study where we looked at the titles that had the most consistent sales from 2012 to 2016 (according to BNC SalesData, which tracks print sales in the English-language trade market). In this case we wanted to narrow down the Fiction titles that had the most consistent sales during those years but for the holiday period only. To identify them, we searched for titles that ranked well in their category for the last eight weeks of the year for every year from 2012 to 2016. Once a list of titles was compiled, we sorted it by units sold in 2016 to ensure that the title rankings reflected each title’s current relevance. 

Here are the perennial Fiction favourites over the holidays: 

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared
Jonas Jonasson
HarperCollins Publishers
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky
MTV Books
The Art of Racing in the Rain
Garth Stein
HarperCollins Publishers
Fall of Giants
Ken Follett
Penguin Books
A Game of Thrones
George R. R. Martin
George Orwell
Penguin UK
To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Grand Central Publishing
The Name of the Wind
Patrick Rothfuss
Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
Doubleday Canada
  1. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  4. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
  5. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  6. 1984 by George Orwell
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  8. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  9. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  10. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The overall perennial Fiction list may seem a little un-festive; it contains a few classics such as the dystopian 1984 and a novel about race in 1930s America, To Kill a Mockingbird. But perhaps unsurprisingly, the most popular holiday perennial is Jonas Jonasson's The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, a life-affirming comic novel more in line with the tradition of heart-warming stories around the holiday season.

It also seems as though book buyers think the holidays are a good time to start some hefty book series (we agree), with three big ones making the list: George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, Ken Follett's Fall of Giants, and Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind.

So while the big blockbusters might get all the limelight and bestseller glory this holiday season, don't overlook these 10 tried and true backlist titles.

We're going to continue our holiday perennial favourites analysis in this blog series. Next week we'll take a look at the holiday perennial bestsellers in the Non-Fiction category followed by the Juvenile and Young Adult categories. So keep an eye out for those.