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The Power of the Holiday Panic Buy

Canadians flock to Humour, Hockey and Celebrity-focused Books in the Rush to Find Something (Anything!) for that Certain Someone

TORONTO – November 3, 2008 Analysis of consumer book spending shows the influence of ‘desperation dollars’ in the Humour, Performing Arts and Sports sections of Canadian bookstores during the holiday rush, especially in the last week before Christmas.

A comparison of category market share in December vs. the rest of the year shows that subjects like Humour, Performing Arts and Sports/Recreation see large relative increases over the holiday season.

“You could almost call it the ‘What do I buy for Dad? Effect.’ All categories see a meteoric rise during the December rush,” says Michael Tamblyn, CEO of BookNet Canada. “But book-buyers seem to save their trickiest recipients until the end. It shows a real opportunity for retailers who can help shoppers with smart, last-minute picks.”

While core categories of Fiction and Children’s Books remain strong, Humour market share increases more than 280% in the month of December and is particularly strong in the last week before Christmas. Performing Arts titles, particularly those with celebrity authors or topics, also perform significantly better in the last month of the year than at any other time.

In Sports and Recreation, the general thinking seems to be when in doubt, buy a hockey book. The top five hardcovers and top five paperbacks in this category for 2007 were all about Canada’s favourite game.

All statistics are drawn from sales tracked by BNC SalesData, Canada’s national book sales tracking service. For more market analysis and information on BookNet Canada and BNC SalesData and, visit BookNet Canada’s website at

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About BookNet Canada
Created and supported by the Canadian book industry, BookNet Canada is the not-for-profit agency dedicated to technology innovation in the Canadian book industry. It is responsible for tracking national book sales, managing industry-wide business-to-business electronic commerce, bibliographic data, and other critical components of technology infrastructure.