Meet the Canadian Book Buyer

Today, BookNet Canada releases its first Consumer Study examining book buyers in Canada, and we are pleased as punch. In the past we have tackled all things sales data: annual reviews of sales, effect of media mentions, the impact of literary awards on sales and more. This was the first time we dove directly into consumer data by taking a look at not only what consumers are purchasing but where they are buying, what they are paying and how they feel about it.

We are often asked what findings really stand out or surprised us. After months of looking at the data it is difficult to pick out specific items but one thing that was of particular interest is format preferences and loyalty. The table below breaks down respondents according to format purchasing habits — whether consumers are buying print only, electronic only or both. The results for Q1 and Q2 of 2012 show that over 85% of respondents are purchasing books in print, while just under 20% are purchasing e-books. Fewer than 7% of consumers are purchasing both print and e-books. By far the majority of buyers stay true to one format, which gives more weight to the idea that print book sales are directly migrating to e-book sales causing them to rise. 

In the above data, respondents were counted if they purchased a print book, an e-book and then indicated if they bought both. In other words, respondents can be counted more than once here, which is why the numbers add up to over 100%. Another way of looking at the data is to examine who only bought only print and who only bought only e-books. 79.3% of respondents bought print exclusively whereas 12.36% bought e-books. The remainder of respondents bought “other” kinds of books, such as audiobooks.

This data looks at the first half of 2012, but we will continue to track this over time. Long-term data will tell us more conclusively whether those loyal to e-books were early adopters, whether buyers of both formats are in a transition phase from one format to the other or whether they’re permanent agnostics.

Many more amazing facts on Canadian book buyers are available in The Canadian Book Consumer 2012: Book-Buying Behaviour in Canada January to June 2012. Click here for more information.