BookNet Canada reports that book sales in Canada for the first quarter fell from the same quarter in 2011. Overall, the market was down by 7.38% in the number of books sold and by 5.83% in dollar value.

BookNet CEO Noah Genner cautioned that BookNet is tracking e-book sales, but those numbers are not yet included in their statistics due to some difficulties such as breaking Canadian sales out of some e-retailers North American sales figures. Genner told PW that he believes a portion of the decline seen in this quarter’s numbers is due to a shift to digital sales, but he said, “my gut feeling is that it is not one to one.”

Fiction saw the biggest drop — 12.56% in units sold and 11.35% in dollars. In addition to the digital sales factor, Genner said there were no big blockbuster books to cause a spike in sales during the January to March quarter. The current quarter is looking much brighter, he said. “We’re actually seeing our first quarter that is up in a long time.” He said E. L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey series is boosting sales.

Juvenile was the only category to increase over the same quarter last year — up 2.83% in the number of books sold and up 15.6% in dollar value. Genner said sales of The Hunger Games, bolstered by interest in the movie, were a factor and continue to increase YA numbers in the second quarter.

Non-fiction was down by 10.56% in units sold and by 11.11% in dollar value.

BookNet’s figures are drawn from year over year sales figures from a fixed panel of 665 stores.