The Canadian book marketremained relatively healthy throughout the economic turbulence of 2009 withsales up 4% in dollars and 1% units sold over 2008 figures, according to areport released by BookNet Canada. (BookNet Canada's national book sales tracking system, BNC SalesData, tracks approximately 75% of the Canadian book market with data from more than 1,000 retail sources.)
While sales gains weresmall, Noah Genner, president and CEO of BookNet Canada, said, "I think that most ofthe industry is pretty happy with the numbers." Genner said part of the reason growth was limited was because ofeconomic conditions, and also because the important Christmas season lacked a"massive blockbuster." Dan Brown's latest novel The Lost Symbol gave sales a "huge lift" when it came out in thefall, but Genner said sales of the book slowed by Christmas.
Still, Genner said salesof Brown's book and Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series helped sustain the year'ssales overall. The juvenile category had the largest year-over-year increasein volume of books sold at 5.3%, and fiction sales were 10.7% higher in dollarvalue than in 2008. Genner added that sales of Lawrence Hill's novel The Book of Negroes, published underthat title by HarperCollins Canadaand as Someone Knows My Name by W.W.Norton & Co. in the U.S.,was another strong seller throughout the year.
Nonfiction was down from2008 by 7.5% in the number of books sold and by 4.2% in dollars. Genner said2008 had been buoyed by the massive success of books by authors Eckhart Tolleand Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love),but 2009 lacked such hits in the category.