The bestselling books of 2017

Can you believe it's already December? Another year has almost come and gone and soon it will be 2018. And while we don't yet know which books will be the breakout bestsellers next year, we can look back and tell you which books sold the most in 2017 (so far).

We identified the top-selling titles in the Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Juvenile categories based on print sales volume in Canada over a 48-week period from Jan. 2, 2017 to Dec. 3, 2017 (according to BNC SalesData, which tracks print sales in the English-language trade market).

The 10 bestselling Fiction books of 2017

  1. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (9781501151774)

  2. Origin by Dan Brown (9780385514231)

  3. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 🇨🇦  (TV tie-in edition: 9780735253308)

  4. The Whistler by John Grisham (9781101967683)

  5. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (9780062654199)

  6. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (9780385689632)

  7. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 🇨🇦 (9780771008795)

  8. Camino Island by John Grisham (9780385543026)

  9. A Column of Fire by Ken Follett (9780525954972)

  10. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (9781250080400)

You can see all of these titles in this CataList catalogue: Bestselling Titles in Canada in 2017 – Fiction.

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The only Canadian on the list, Margaret Atwood, secures two spots for the same novel with the TV tie-in edition of The Handmaid's Tale edging out the 2011 version. The Handmaid's Tale TV show premiered in April 2017 and won an Emmy award in September 2017; earlier this year we looked at both of these factors in terms of their impact on the sales of this title. Clearly they were significant enough to land this 1986 title in two of the top 10 spots.

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John Grisham is no stranger to the bestseller list, and he also nabs two spots on the list: #8 for his newest release, Camino Island, and #4 for the mass market paperback edition of his 2016 novel, The Whistler.

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Half of the bestselling Fiction titles in 2017 are Thrillers. Ruth Ware's book The Woman in Cabin 10 has been the breakout hit of the year, selling more copies than Dan Brown's Origin. (Though The Woman in Cabin 10 has been selling for all 48 weeks of this reporting period, while Origin was only released on Oct. 3.) Last year, Paula Hawkins was #2 (and #4) on the Fiction bestseller list for her debut novel The Girl on the Train, and this year her newest novel Into the Water lands in sixth spot. 

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Three Historical Fiction titles made the top 10 list this year: The Alice Network was one of the books of the summer; Reese Witherspoon picked it as her Book Club Summer Reading Pick and Goodreads picked it as one of their Best Books of June. The second was Ken Follett's A Column of Fire, the third instalment in his epic Kingsbridge series. And rounding out the list is Kristin Hannah's novel, The Nightingale, out this year in paperback. The book was first published in 2005 and a film adaptation was optioned that same year, though it wasn't until 2017 that a release date for the movie was set, with Hannah also releasing details about her next novelThe Great Alone, both of which probably contributed to continued interest in this title.

The 10 bestselling Non-Fiction books of 2017

  1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (9780062641540)

  2. The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur 🇨🇦  (9781501175268)

  3. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur 🇨🇦  (9781449474256)

  4. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero (9780762447695)

  5. Lion by Saroo Brierley (9780735233690)

  6. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (9780771038518)

  7. Guinness World Records 2018 by Guinness World Records Staff (9781910561720)

  8. Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon 🇨🇦  (9780143196518)

  9. What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton (9781501175565)

  10. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson (9780393609394)

You can see all of these titles in this CataList catalogue: Bestselling Titles in Canada in 2017 – Non-Fiction.

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Rupi Kaur, the Canadian Instagram poet sensation, proves that the success of her first book, Milk and Honey, was not an outlier. Her newest collection of poems, The Sun and Her Flowers, has sold enough copies to get her the #2 spot on the Non-Fiction list. And Milk and Honey climbed to the #3 position this year, which is up two spots from last year's #5 showing. In 2016, poetry showed a 79% increase in sales over 2015, largely owing to Kaur's success; it will be interesting to see the trend in 2017. (Keep an eye out for our report The Canadian Book Market 2017, available in early 2018, for this data.)

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Self-help was a big category this year. The #1 title, Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and the #4 title, Jen Sincero's You Are a Badass, show that Canadians want their self-help with just a dash of vulgarity.

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The movie tie-in edition of Lion by Saroo Brierley sold more copies in 2017 than it did before it was a movie starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, back when it was titled A Long Way Home. The movie opened to wide release in 2017 and received six Oscar nominations.

2017 was a big year for American politics so it's probably not a surprise that Hillary Rodham Clinton's memoir of the 2016 election, What Happened, sold well even in the Great White North. 

The 10 bestselling Juvenile and YA books of 2017

  1. Dog Man Unleashed by Dav Pilkey (9780545935203)

  2. Wonder by R. J. Palacio (9780375869020)

  3. The Getaway by Jeff Kinney (9781419725456)

  4. A Tale of Two Kitties by Dav Pilkey (9780545935210)

  5. Love You Forever written by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw 🇨🇦 (9780920668375)

  6. Five-Minute Peppa Stories illustrated by Eone (9781338058048)

  7. Pokémon by Cris Silvestri (9780545795661)

  8. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (9780385683678)

  9. Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss (9780679805274)

  10. The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (9780545499088)

The top 10 bestselling Juvenile and YA books of 2017 were all Fiction. You can see all of these titles in this CataList catalogue: Bestselling Titles in Canada in 2017 – Juvenile & YA.

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The prolific Dav Pilkey was the only author to earn more than one spot in the Juvenile and YA top 10 list, showing up an impressive three times: twice for his Dog Man series, Dog Man Unleashed and Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties, and once for the first book in the Captain Underpants series, The Adventures of Captain Underpants

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Two of the titles on this list had 2017 movie releases, though neither of the bestsellers were the movie tie-in editions. R. J. Palacio's uplifting novel, Wonder, took the #2 spot with its movie adaptation starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay releasing on Nov. 17, 2017. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon took the #8 spot, and its movie, starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson, released in May 2017.

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Last year, the Pokémon phenomenon was in full force thanks to the Pokémon GO mobile game. This year, it's still a solid #7 on the list, though the game craze has died down.

We can't wait to see what trends the next year will bring. Will Thrillers be replaced by another genre as the top Fiction category? Will more poets appear in the top 10 Non-Fiction list? Only time will tell.