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What’s your favourite book? New French study asks for nominations

The vast campaign comes after millions rediscovered their love of reading during the first Covid lockdown in 2020, with the eventual winner set to be announced on TV in autumn

A woman reading a book by an open window and more bookshelves

Which books would make your top three? A new campaign is inviting you to vote for your favourites Pic: MIND AND I / Shutterstock

You can now vote for your top three books in a new, vast operation by France Télévisions and the BBC, which is asking people in France aged seven and over to nominate their favourites.

The campaign is inviting people to indicate their three favourite books, in the context of many people rediscovering their interest in reading during the first lockdown of 2020. Bookshops were eventually classed as “essential businesses” during the crisis after an uproar when they were closed.

Read more: Bookshops in France now classed as essential businesses 

It was opened during the Festival du Livre in Paris, which ran from April 22-24. 

The event is the first of its kind in France, and will invite people to nominate titles without offering any “pre-established list first”. It is being run in partnership with Le Parisien, France Bleu, and social media platform TikTok.

Participants can nominate three titles via the website To be nominated, the book must have been published in French, meaning that a French version must exist. The deadline is May 18.

From July 18 to September 4, 50 high-profile personalities will present the 50 most-nominated books on short TV broadcasts on France Télévisions. Viewers will then be invited to choose their favourites from this shortlist.

The final favourite book will be presented on a special TV show on France 2 in the autumn. 

Géry Leymergie, deputy director of BBC Studios France, told the AFP: “We all have a book that has had an impact on us more than others in our life, and this is a great time to let everyone know.”

The contest was inspired by a UK programme from 2003, called The Big Read. It found The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien to be the UK’s favourite.

Other shortlisted works included 1984 by George Orwell, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling, and Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne.

Michel Field, director of culture and live entertainment at France Télévisions, told AFP: “Our ambition is to offer great popular entertainment.”

He said that at a time when streaming platforms and social networks are so popular, "it's about establishing links” between great TV and great books. He said: “Thousands of young people rushed to bookshops to discover [author] Maurice Leblanc after [actor] Omar Sy's Lupin on Netflix!"

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Omar Sy's Lupin most popular ever French show on Netflix 

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