100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Four Thoughts About the Bestselling Books of 2018

Batman Thinking

Publishers Weekly recently released data on the best selling books of last year. Here are a few things that stood out to me.

Only one book in 2018 sold more copies than The Wonky Donkey.

Congratulations to Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown, you were the only book that managed to best the Scottish granny:

This viral read-aloud moved nearly a million copies. I wonder how many people tried to read it with a Scottish accent after they bought it.

Wonder dethroned.

Wonder dropped from #1 in the hardcover backlist bestsellers (it’s still riding high at #4 though).

People like stories they can read in 5 minutes.

5-Minute Mickey Mouse Stories, 5-Minute Princess Stories, 5-Minute Pete the Cat Stories, Disney 5-Minute Snuggle Stories, and Fancy Nancy: 5-Minute Fancy Nancy Stories were all among the top sellers of 2018.


  1. Stories you can read in one minute.
  2. Stories that are just one illustration and when you show it to a kid they say “Got it.”

Non-illustrated middle grade is hard to find.

The true unicorns of this list are non-illustrated middle grade fiction books. While illustrated books like Wimpy Kid, Dog Man, and Dork Diaries are all hanging out near the top, non-illustrated middle grade fiction was scarce (aside from Wonder).

What jumped out to you?

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Sharon Verbeten says:

    Graphic novel memoir seems to be a growing trend…who will be the next Telgemeier or Brogol?