Literary awards season: Canadian awareness of and interest in literary awards

It's award season! In case you missed it, the finalists for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Governor General's Literary Awards have been announced already.

You may recall that we looked at book buyer awareness of literary awards back in April, as well as the impact different literary awards have on book sales. With award season upon us and updated data at our fingertips, we're taking another look at award awareness and what impact a book's nomination has on the habits of Canadian readers and book buyers. We analyzed the data from the most recent fielding of our quarterly consumer survey and our 2017 leisure time survey. 

Let's start with book buyers.

Book buyers' awareness of Canadian literary awards

In our quarterly consumer survey, we asked adult Canadians who bought at least one book in the previous month how familiar they were with specific literary awards. For more than 1,400 book buyers in 2018, the most familiar Canadian awards were the Governor General's Literary Awards, Canada Reads, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. 

Results for those who responded with "very familiar" and "moderately familiar" have been grouped together under "familiar," and those who responded with "very unfamiliar" and "moderately unfamiliar" have been grouped together under "unfamiliar." 

Book buyers' awareness of international literary awards

Looking at a few of the more prominent international awards, more than half of the respondents were familiar with the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. 

What about Canadian readers? 

In January 2018 we asked more than 600 Canadians who had read at least one book in the past year, regardless of their buying habits, to rank a list of options in terms of how influential they were in determining which books they selected to read or listen to. Books that are sold with awards/bestseller stickers or badges on the cover came in fourth. This was preceded by: familiarity with the author; reading a synopsis or sample; and familiarity with the series.

Only 7% of respondents ranked awards/bestseller stickers or badges as most influential, though 32% ranked it as one of their top three influences when selecting books.

When we asked readers if having a book nominated for a literary award influenced their interest in that book, we discovered that 19% of respondents are more interested in reading a book after it's been nominated for a literary award. The majority of respondents may be more interested in reading a book if it's nominated. 

Canadian readers' interest in award-nominated books

Do you also select books to read or listen to based on literary awards? See our master list of literary awards or look for your next read in our catalogues of award finalists