Press room

Canadian publishers remain committed to digital books

2014 ebook revenues increased for 52% of responding publishers; stayed flat or declined for 48%

93% of publishers surveyed are producing ebooks

Toronto, ON–May 12, 2015–Canadian publishers’ digital publishing programs continue to progress, according to a report released today by BookNet Canada. The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2014 lays out the results of a survey conducted by BookNet Canada in early 2015. Over 70 respondents, representing small, mid-sized, and large publishers and distributors, reported on various aspects of their digital publishing programs, including staffing, ebook production & conversion, digital originals, enhanced ebooks & apps, ebook bundling, and ebook sales & distribution. Their responses were then compared to the results of the 2013 fielding of the same survey.

The percentage of publishers producing ebooks in 2014 increased slightly to 93% (vs 89% in 2013). Of those producing ebooks, close to half have digitized more than 50% of their active titles, and almost a quarter have converted over 75% of their backlist titles. The majority of publishers (65%) choose to publish print and ebook formats of a title simultaneously, while 29% delay the ebook edition until after the print version is available. When asked for the main reasons to publish ebooks, the most popular response was to increase sales (77%), followed closely by to meet customer demand (63%). Only 5% cited “as a mechanism to lower costs” as a reason to produce ebooks–a noticeable drop from 15% in 2013. The development of enhanced ebooks and apps remained fairly steady from 2013 to 2014, whereas more publishers are publishing digital originals: from 27% in 2013 to 35% in 2014.

The main sales channel was ebook retailers (95%), followed by direct (66%) and wholesale (43%). Ebook retailers also generated the most revenue for 69% of respondents, while only 12% reported receiving the most revenue through their direct sales channel. The percentage of publishers offering direct sales is up significantly, however–from 42% in 2013 to 66% in 2014. The majority of publishers (69%) report that ebook sales make up 1-10% of their revenue, while 17% of publishers derive 11-20% of their revenue from ebook sales. As for libraries, the majority of publishers surveyed (75%) sell ebooks to libraries, up from 61% in 2013.

BookNet Canada’s Director of Customer Relations, Pamela Millar, says, “This report demonstrates a high level of commitment by Canadian publishers and multinationals to include ebooks in their offerings, and to continue digitizing their backlist titles.”

You can download a free copy of The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2014 at

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BookNet Canada is a non-profit organization that develops technology, standards, and education to serve the Canadian book industry.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) for this project. / Nous reconnaissons l’appui financier du gouvernement du Canada par l’entremise du Fonds du livre du Canada (FLC) pour ce projet.

Media Contact:
Joanna Karaplis
Marketing & Communications Manager
BookNet Canada
(416) 362-5057 x. 231