Canadians buy and borrow books

Libraries and readers go hand in hand. We all know that. But did you know that libraries and book buyers go hand-in-hand as well? 'Tis true. We researched and wrote a whole report on it and about the library habits of Canadians: Borrow, Buy, Read: Library Use and Book Buying in Canada.

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We surveyed a representative group of adult, English-speaking Canadians and found that 21% bought at least one book in the past year, 28% borrowed at least one book from the library in the past year, and 8% both bought and borrowed at least one book.

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Of the books that Canadians borrowed from their libraries last year: 82% were print books, 13% were ebooks, and 5% were audiobooks.

This same representative group of Canadians also led us to the demographic profile of the average library book borrower. This person is: 

  • female-identifying (58%);

  • in her mid-fifties (on average);

  • partnered (59%);

  • living in central Canada (58%);

  • not living with kids (51%);

  • a university graduate (51%); and

  • living in an urban area (47%).

We also asked a group of Canadian readers about their habits around using the library. We found that 56% of readers used a public library (in person or online) in the last year. Of those library users, 44% mainly use the library to borrow bestsellers; 44% to borrow other fiction; and 44% to borrow non-fiction.

That's just the top of the book stack (that's a "tip of the iceberg" metaphor converted to library terms — did it translate?), and there's so much more in the full, free report. You can read the entire thing right here!

And, while we have you, we wanted to let you know that we're encouraging libraries across Canada to share their circulation data for our exciting new LibraryData project currently in development. Read more about it here.