Mid-year state of the nation: Canadian book publishing

Want to know how 2017 is shaping up in terms of book sales? We brought this information to you last year and we're back to do it again this year.

Overall print book market down 2.7% in value sold

Canadian book buyers spent a respectable $398 million on print books in the English-language trade market during the first six months of 2017. When we look at the value sold for a group of comparable stores for the first half of 2017 versus the same period last year, however, we see that overall print book sales were down 2.7%, according to sales numbers reported to BNC SalesData.

 Graph depicting the volume of sales in the Canadian print market using BNC SalesData for 2016 and the first two quarters of 2017.

Ebooks, online shopping see gains in first half of 2017

When it comes to format preferences among book buyers in Canada, consumer surveys conducted with 966 book-buying Canadians during the first six months of 2017 show a 3% increase in the number of ebooks purchased versus the same period in 2016. With a 20% share of the market, ebooks remain in third place behind paperback at 51% and hardcover at 23%.

 Graph depicting consumer book purchases by format for 2016 and the first two quarters of 2017.

Online shopping, which covers shopping on e-commerce websites, mobile app purchases, and ebook/audio downloads, also saw gains during the first half of 2017, rising from 50% to 52% over the same period last year. The second-most popular channel remains chain bookstores, with a fairly steady 25% of market share.

 Graph depicting consumer book purchases by channel for 2016 and the first two quarters of 2017.

Further reports on consumer buying habits, sales trends, digital publishing, and more can be found at booknetcanada.ca/bnc-research. We'll also be back in the beginning of 2018 to tell you how the next six months shape up.