I took a few minutes to review Saturday’s Globe and Mail’s lists of best-selling books because I was curious to see how many of the titles are by female authors. According to the references provided, the lists were compiled from sales figures provided by BookNet Canada’s national sales tracking service, BNC SalesData, and some bookstores across Canada. For access to the complete article see www.globeandmail.com or check out a the Globe Focus & Books section of the August 21, 2010 edition.
Here is a quick recap:
National Fiction and Non-Fiction Bestsellers
Fiction: Other than the late Stieg Larssons’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, I note that the other nine authors (90%) are all female in the top ten sales of hard-cover fiction books. Second place went to Shilpi Somaya Gowda for Secret Daughter. The degree of representation by female authors drops to about a third in paper book sales. Mr. Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire take first and second place in this category, followed by Elizabeth Lowell’s Running Scared.
Non-fiction: Representation by female authors drops further in the non-fiction hard-cover category. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed and Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project came in fourth and fifth following books by Neil Pasricha, Justin Halpern, and Andrew Morton. In paper, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love comes in at first place with few of the other books out of ten being written by women.
Canadian Fiction and Non-Fiction, Science, and Health & Fitness Bestsellers
Canadian Fiction: The Globe & Mail shows the top-selling 15 books in fiction and non-fiction but does not indicate whether they are hard-cover and/or paper back, so I will assume they are hard-cover. In the fiction category at most a third of the books are by female authors, with Shilpi Somaya Gowda’s Secret Daughter in the top spot, Kathy Reich’s 206 Bones in the third, and Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood in the fourth.
Non-Fiction: In the non-fiction list no female authors are represented until 12th place held by Marina Nemat’s Prisoner of Tehran.
Canadian Science Books: of the 10 books listed only two are by female authors – Barbara Krumhart’s E-Z Anatomy And Physiology and Packing for Mars by Mary Roach.
Canadian Health & Fitness Books: Female authors are represented to a greater degree in this category with Nathasha Turner’s The Hormone Diet, Tosca Reno’s The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged, and Diane Hart’s Oxygen’s Pick It Kick It in the top three spots.
Feedback loop: Have you read any of these books by female authors? Which ones are your favourites? I am particularly interested in what you think about the books about science.