The books Canadians are buying in the first half of 2019

Did you know we're halfway through 2019 and coming up fast on 2020? Our flying cars and hover boards must be in the mail. Luckily, while we're waiting for our future tech to arrive, people are still reading a centuries-old technology: the print book. But which specific print books have they been reading in the first half of 2019? Let's find out.

These are the bestselling books in Canada for the first half of 2019 as tracked by @BookNet_Canada.

First, let's look at the category breakdown of how Canadians are reading. When looking at print unit sales in the Canadian English-language trade market from January to June 2019, we see that the Juvenile/Young Adult category is still where most sales are happening: 38.8%. Non-Fiction is not too far behind, making up 34.5% of sales over the last six months. Fiction continues to bring up the rear at 25.2% of print book sales in Canada. These numbers aren't much different from the breakdown in 2018, which was: Juvenile/YA 39.5%; Non-Fiction 33.5%; and Fiction 25.5%.

Category breakdown of print book sales in English Canada, January to June 2019

Pie chart with breakdown of category sales in the first half of 2019.

Bestselling books in Canada in the first half of 2019

Last year's top-selling print book, Becoming by Michelle Obama, remains the bestselling print book of 2019 so far, according to sales tracked in the Canadian English-language trade market by BNC SalesData.

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama (9781524763138, Crown Publishing Group, Nov. 13, 2018, Biography & Autobiography)

  2. Educated by Tara Westover (9781443452489, HarperCollins Canada, Feb. 20, 2018, Biography & Autobiography)

  3. Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey (9781338236576, Scholastic Inc., Dec. 24, 2018, Juvenile Fiction)

  4. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (9780062877000, HarperCollins Publishers, Sept. 4, 2018, Fiction)

  5. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (9780062641540, HarperCollins Canada, Sept. 13, 2016, Self-Help)

No books published in 2019 have made the top five bestsellers. Apart from Becoming, the other top-sellers from January to June are Educated by Tara Westover, middle-grade book Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey, The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris — which were all published in 2018 — and long-time bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, from September 2016. With the exception of Pilkey's Dog Man instalment and Morris's The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the rest of the top-sellers are all non-fiction titles, and three of the top five were published by HarperCollins.

Bestselling Canadian books

The backlist trend continues for Canadian-authored books, where the bestselling titles of 2018 are also topping the lists into 2019: Yum and Yummer by Greta Podleski and 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson, though they have swapped positions since the end of 2018, with Podleski's cookbook coming out on top over the last few months.

  1. Yum and Yummer by Greta Podleski 🇨🇦(9781775047001, One Spoon Media Inc., Oct. 1, 2017, Cooking)

  2. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson 🇨🇦(9780345816023, Random House of Canada, Jan. 23, 2018, Psychology)

  3. The Gown by Jennifer Robson 🇨🇦(9780062674951, HarperCollins Publishers, Dec. 31, 2018, Fiction)

  4. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch 🇨🇦(9780920668375, Firefly Books, Sept. 1, 1995, Juvenile Fiction)

  5. The Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood 🇨🇦(9780062839091, HarperCollins Publishers, March 5, 2019, Fiction)

Three of the top-selling Canadian titles are fiction: The Gown by Jennifer Robson, perennial juvenile favourite Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, and The Quaintland Sisters by Shelley Wood. Both The Gown and The Quaintland Sisters are historical fiction, and Woods' title is the only book out of all 10 bestsellers that came out in 2019, though The Gown was released on the last day of 2018.

If you liked this and want to know more about how print books are faring in Canada, you can find complete information broken out by category and by Canadian-owned firms for 2018 in our annual report, The Canadian Book Market 2018. And, if you're a publisher, retailer, or librarian who wants to see more data like this, check out SalesData, the sales-tracking service for the Canadian English-language trade book market. If you’re already a subscriber, and want to see the top-selling titles in a certain category or for a specific title or subtitle (like we did to find the top-selling books), run a bestseller report. If you still have questions, or want SalesData training, contact us!