Research from BookNet Canada

The book industry changes at an accelerated pace and keeping up can be straining—but you don’t have to go it alone. BookNet Canada publishes timely and actionable research so that your company is in the know and your staff has the know-how.

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Where does our research come from? 

BNC SalesData – Our national sales tracking service that represents 85% of the English-language trade print book market in Canada. SalesData is used to investigate market trends, identify sales opportunities, plan book orders, and more.

Online surveys – We regularly survey Canadians who read, buy, borrow, and listen to books to shed light on consumer behaviour and trends. We use this data in everything from blog posts and studies to custom reports and presentations. We also conduct an annual survey of Canadian retailers and publishers, on an alternating basis, to produce our State of Independent Bookselling and State of Publishing reports.

Custom research

We produce custom research reports to suit the needs of our stakeholders. Need to measure the sales impact of a marketing campaign or literary award? Want to better understand the buying habits of Romance readers in Western Canada? We can provide the insights you need using data from our tracking tools, SalesData and LibraryData, and our consumer and leisure surveys. Just get in touch to learn how we can customize our research for your company.

Complimentary research for SalesData & LibraryData subscribers

SalesData and LibraryData subscribers can access exclusive reports on the impact of awards, perennial bestsellers, backlist trends, market performance, year-over-year analysis, and more. These reports contain confidential information and are restricted to registered users of SalesData and LibraryData. You can find the password on the or home pages. Log in here.

Our current studies

Buying, borrowing, and reading behaviour

We survey Canadian book buyers, readers, and library users to shed light on consumer behaviour. Topics include: audiobook use, interest in reading Canadian authors, and more. The Deep Dive genre reports also include sales trends.

  • Borrow, Buy, Read: Library Use and Book Buying in Canada: An in-depth look at the intersection of library users and book buyers, popular subjects bought and borrowed, profiles of the average book buyer and borrower, and more.

  • The Canadian Book Buyer 2018: Updates previous consumer studies with the demographics, purchasing behaviour, format preferences, and subjects purchased by Canadian book buyers, including year-over-year changes between 2016 and 2018. Find previous versions here.

  • Demand for Diversity: A Survey of Canadian Readers: A new study that investigates readers' experiences with and interest in reading diverse books

  • Readers Are Listening: Audiobook Use in Canada 2018: An in-depth look at how Canadian audiobook listeners discover, purchase, and use audiobooks, with year-over-year comparisons from 2014 and 2016. Find previous versions here.

  • #AmReading (Paid): Research reports on the top social media platforms used by Canadian book buyers, how publishers and retailers are using these platforms to reach readers, and the demographics and buying habits of those users.

  • Deep Dive (Paid): A series of in-depth studies combining sales trends with consumer research on top-selling genres.

  • Canadians Reading Canadians 2017: An update to previous studies on consumer attitudes towards books by Canadian authors and about Canadian subjects. Find previous versions here.

  • How Canadians Buy Books 2015: An in-depth look at the purchasing journey, from awareness to decision to action.

Sales trends

We draw on current and historical information from SalesData to create market research reports, examining both annual trends and the impact of specific events (like awards) on sales. Some studies, like the Deep Dive series, also include information from consumer surveying.

  • The Canadian Book Market 2018 (Paid): Our annual comprehensive report on the Canadian market. Contains detailed information on more than 50 subject categories, including market share, weekly unit sales, average selling price, and top 10 hardcover and paperback sellers.

  • Deep Dive (Paid): A series of in-depth studies combining sales trends with consumer research on top-selling genres.

Industry trends

We survey publishers and retailers every other year for our two reports, The State of Digital Publishing in Canada and The State of Independent Bookselling in Canada.

  • The State of Independent Bookselling in Canada 2018: The first study of its kind in Canada, this report sets a benchmark for the scope, health, and challenges of indie bookselling. Based on survey results from independent booksellers across the country, the study offers insights into the profile of indie bookstores, including sources of revenue, inventory and marketing practices, common challenges, and much more.

  • The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2017: Starting in 2013, we have annually surveyed Canadian publishers about their digital publishing programs: what percentage of their backlist was digitized, what percentage of their sales revenue came from ebooks, their opinions on apps and enhanced ebooks, and more.

You can find older studies in the Research Archive.

Research on the blog

We occasionally publish tidbits of research (and fun infographics) on the BNC Blog.

Canadian literary awards

An overview of all the research we publish on the biggest literary prizes in Canada, as well as a comprehensive historical list and catalogues of all the nominees and winners for those prizes. 

All reports copyright © BookNet Canada (ISNI: 0000000107013646), subject to individual terms of use.