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Revenue from new print books has increased for majority of Canadian indie bookstores

Toronto, ON – Sept. 9, 2019 – 65% of booksellers reported revenue increases from new print books between 2017 and 2018 in a new study from BookNet Canada

New print books continue to be a significant revenue generator for indie bookstores across Canada, according to a new study from BookNet Canada. More than three out of five booksellers surveyed for the study reported an increase in revenue from new print books between 2017 and 2018, with another 28% reporting that revenue from remaindered books had gone up in that time and one in five seeing increased revenue from used print books. When looking at sources of merchandise revenue across all book and non-book products, new frontlist books take the lion's share, accounting for 37% for the average indie bookseller, followed by 31% from new backlist books and 16% from other/non-book products.

These insights and much more have been published in What's in Store: The State of Independent Bookselling in Canada 2018, the first study of its kind in Canada. The report, out today, sets a benchmark for the scope, health, and challenges of indie bookselling across the country. The insights compiled from the survey include a profile of the average indie bookstore in Canada, the efficiency and ROI of various inventory and marketing practices, common staff and operational challenges, and incentives used by indie booksellers to attract and retain customers.

The outlook for Canadian content in indie bookstores is also positive. When asked about the time, money, and effort spent on books by Canadian authors or featuring Canadian content, almost nine out of ten booksellers reported a positive ROI, while 50% of those surveyed shared that they increased their Canadian inventory by about 1-10% between 2017 and 2018.

In addition to these and other similar metrics for the indie bookselling landscape, the study also shares booksellers' views and suggestions for the overall book industry. While three out of four viewed their bookstore as "healthy" and 63% viewed the overall Canadian publishing industry as the same, some booksellers stressed that there is room for improvement when it comes to co-operation with and support from the government and publishers.

One bookseller noted that, "in recent years we’ve certainly felt that both Canadian and international publishers are tightening their belts, particularly in terms of events and other promotions, though they are working hard to maximize the effectiveness of co-op programs etc., which is good for all parties concerned. I do feel that all aspects of the industry are dealing with a challenging retail landscape — online, one dominant brick-and-mortar retailer, etc.”

The full report can be read for free at Booksellers and other industry stakeholders are encouraged to share their thoughts on social media using #StateOfIndieBookselling.

More 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