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Backlist bestsellers dominate in first half of 2019

Toronto, ON – July 11, 2019 – A look at print book sales in the Canadian trade market for the first six months 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. Among 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, the other four top-sellers are all non-fiction titles, with three published by HarperCollins.

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 then, with Podleski's cookbook coming out on top over the last few months. The next three top-selling Canadian titles are all fiction: The Gown by Jennifer Robson, perennial juvenile favourite Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, and The Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood. Both The Gown and The Quaintland Sisters are historical fiction novels, 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.

Looking at the category trends for the first half of the year, Juvenile/YA continues to dominate, accounting for 38.8% of all print book sales in the Canadian English-language trade market, which shows little change from its 39.5% share for the whole of 2018. Non-Fiction follows with 34.5%, compared to 33.5% in 2018, and Fiction is still bringing up the rear at 25.2%, down only 0.3% from 2018.

Further information on 2019 book sales by format and sales channel will be available in early 2020. Complete information on print book sales broken out by category and by Canadian-owned firms for 2018 can be found in our annual report, The Canadian Book Market 2018. New research on sales trends, format breakdowns, reading behaviour, and more can always be found at

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BookNet Canada is a non-profit organization that develops technology, standards, and education to serve the Canadian book industry. Founded in 2002 to address systemic challenges in the industry, BookNet Canada supports publishing companies, booksellers, wholesalers, distributors, sales agents, and libraries across the country.

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:
Zalina Alvi
Marketing & Communications Manager
BookNet Canada 
(416) 362-5057 x 2250