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The resurgence of readers: Book worms are on the rise

April 16, 2024, 8:31 a.m. (EDT)

Whether it’s a story to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life or a dive into learning something new, fiction or non-fiction, Canadians sure love a good read. So, let’s read into sales of books in Canada.

Canada’s book publishing industry is making a comeback, as we’re expanding our reading lists and hitting the bookstores. In 2022, total book sales in Canada grew to $998.3 million, surpassing the 2018 value of $987.2 million

Although e-books may have gained some popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, when brick-and-mortar bookstores were closed due to lockdown restrictions, more people are coming back to good old print titles. Sales of print books (purchased in a physical location, not online) in Canada increased 10.5% to $696.4 million in 2022, just below the $702.7 million reached in 2018, prior to the pandemic.

Sales of e-books were lower than that of print books in 2022; at $157.5 million, they were relatively unchanged since 2020. Total online sales of print books fell slightly (-$1.0 million) from 2020 to $144.4 million in 2022. Sales of e-books and online sales of print books in Canada were both higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Not only are Canadians reading books, but we’re also writing them. Sales of books by Canadian authors rose 10.5% to $707.6 million in 2022. By comparison, sales by foreign authors increased 6.7% to $633.1 million. The share of sales attributable to Canadian authors was 52.8% in 2022, marking the second consecutive period in which the majority of sales came from books by Canadian authors.

Overall, from 2020 to 2022, operating revenue for book publishers rose 8.3% to $1.6 billion. This was the largest increase since comparable data became available in 2014. There is no doubt that Canada is home to a large community of book worms, but that’s enough numbers for now—time for us to get back to our books!

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