The 100 bestselling books at Readings in 2020

Here are our 100 bestselling books from the past year.

Of the 100 books listed below…

  • 43 are fiction
  • 19 are non-fiction
  • 11 are children’s books (6 picture books, 4 middle grade books and 1 non-fiction)
  • 10 are cookbooks
  • 8 are biographies or memoirs
  • 5 are collected works (2 anthology, 3 single-authored collection)
  • 4 are crime reads

Of the 102 authors (as well as editors, illustrators, translators, and more) listed here, 65 are Australian, 67 are women and 17 are First Nations writers.

Writer and historian Bruce Pascoe has three books in our top 100, two for an adult audience, and his award-winning book for children, Young Dark Emu: A Truer History. Other contributors to appear on this list multiple times include First Nations picture book creators and Senior elders Aunty Fay Muir and Aunty Joy Murphy, cookbook superstars Hetty McKinnon, Julia Busuttil Nishimura and Yotam Ottolenghi, local bestseller Trent Dalton and acclaimed Irish novelist Sally Rooney.

Our list of bestselling 100 books serves as a stark reflection of the year we had, with long periods of home-schooling and lockdowns in much of the country. Not surprisingly, children’s books feature heavily, as do cookbooks suitable for avid home cooks (Ottolenghi FLAVOUR, A Year of Simple Family Food) and books that promote hope for our future (Humankind: A Hopeful History) or serve as a reminder of our resilience (The Happiest Man on Earth).

A surge in awareness of the long-established anti-racism movement encouraged many to read titles like Me and White Supremacy, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race and How to Be an Antiracist, as well as vital fiction, history and memoir written by Black and First Nations writers.

100. A Couple of Things Before the End: Stories by Sean O'Beirne
99. Landing With Wings by Trace Balla
98. Living on Stolen Land by Ambelin Kwaymullina
97. Wilam: A Birrarung Story by Aunty Joy Murphy, Andrew Kelly & Lisa Kennedy
96. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
95. Family by Aunty Fay Muir, Sue Lawson & Jasmine Seymour
94. The Coconut Children by Vivian Pham
93. The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall
92. Intimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith
91. Respect by Aunty Fay Muir, Sue Lawson & Lisa Kennedy
90. The Loudness of Unsaid Things by Hilde Hinton
89. How to Write the Soundtrack to Your Life by Fiona Hardy
88. Finding Our Heart by Thomas Mayor & Blak Douglas
87. Our Home, Our Heartbeat by Adam Briggs, Kate Moon & Rachael Sarra
86. The Adversary by Ronnie Scott
85. Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler
84. Talkin' Up to the White Woman by Aileen Moreton-Robinson
83. The Girl, the Cat & the Navigator by Matilda Woods
82. The Bird Way by Jennifer Ackerman
81. Blueberries by Ellena Savage
80. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
79. Vegan With Bite by Shannon Martinez
78. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
77. Preserving the Italian Way by Pietro Demaio
76. Stranger Than Kindness by Nick Cave
75. Ostro by Julia Busuttil Nishimura
74. There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett
73. The Animals in That Country by Laura Jean McKay
72. Smart Ovens for Lonely People by Elizabeth Tan
71. Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump
70. The Tolstoy Estate by Steven Conte
69. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
68. After Australia by Michael Mohammed Ahmad
67. Young Dark Emu: A Truer History by Bruce Pascoe
66. Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko
65. Infinite Splendours by Sofie Laguna
64. Welcome To Country by Lisa Kennedy & Aunty Joy Murphy
63. Lucky’s by Andrew Pippos
62. The Overstory by Richard Powers
61. The Golden Maze by Richard Fidler
60. The Dressmaker’s Secret by Rosalie Ham
59. Untamed by Glennon Doyle
58. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
57. Kokomo by Victoria Hannan
56. Educated by Tara Westover
55. Fire Country by Victor Steffensen
54. Weather by Jenny Offill
53. Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad
52. Community by Hetty McKinnon
51. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
50. Loving Country: A Guide to Sacred Australia by Bruce Pascoe & Vicky Shukuroglou
49. Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save The World by Tyson Yunkaporta
48. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
47. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
46. Bruny by Heather Rose
45. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
44. Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood
43. See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill
42. One Day I’ll Remember This: Diaries 1987-1995 by Helen Garner
41. The 130-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton
40. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given
39. The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku
38. Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia by Anita Heiss
37. A Bigger Picture by Malcolm Turnbull
36. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
35. The Weekend by Charlotte Wood
34. The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan
33. Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
32. The White Girl by Tony Birch
31. Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman
30. Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
29. Honeybee by Craig Silvey
28. Ottolenghi SIMPLE by Yotam Ottolenghi
27. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
26. Falastin by Sami Tamimi & Tara Wigley
25. What Is to Be Done by Barry Jones
24. A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu
23. To Asia, with Love by Hetty McKinnon
22. The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante
21. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
20. A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough
19. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
18. Women and Leadership by Julia Gillard & Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
17. The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan
16. Normal People by Sally Rooney
15. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
14. A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura
13. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
12. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
11. A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville

Our top 10 bestselling books are…

10. Beatrix Bakes by Natalie Paull
9. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
8. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
7. All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton
6. The Survivors by Jane Harper
5. Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
4. Ottolenghi FLAVOUR by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage
3. The Yield by Tara June Winch
2. The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

And our number one bestselling book of 2020 is…


Julia Baird’s Phosphorescence is an inspiring investigation into how we can find and nurture internal happiness, and it had a remarkable year in our shops, rarely slipping out of our weekly bestsellers. Using her own memories and the fascinating framework of phosphorescence and light, Baird explores friendships, family, world atrocities, climate change, and more. It seems in a year as fraught as 2020, we were all looking for an optimistic and reflective read!

Ed. note: The list combines sales from all Readings shops and our website. Where possible, different editions of titles have been combined to reflect total sales of each title. The list includes all genres. It covers sales from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020.

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Julia Baird

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