E-books accounted for about 16% of Canadian book purchases in the first half of 2012, a new survey commissioned by BookNet Canada found. According to the report, “The Canadian Book Consumer 2012: Book-Buying Behaviour in Canada January to June 2012,” the most popular format in the period was paperback, which accounted for 57% of sales, while hardcovers represented 24% of unit sales. E-books’ share of sales declined slightly between the first and second quarters, down from 17.5% to 15%, which BNC speculated was due to the high rate of e-readers given as presents over the holidays that resulted in a burst of e-book buying in the first quarter.

Among e-book buyers, Kobo, developed in Canada, was the most popular e-reading device with 27% saying they plan to use a Kobo device to buy their next e-book followed by Kindle at 19% and the iPad at 14%. Despite the inroads made by digital books, 86% of Canadians still purchased print books in the January-June period. According to the report, 20% of print purchases (and 27.5% of all purchases) were made online in the first six months of 2012. Bricks-and-mortar stores commanded the largest market share with all bookstores taking a 37% share and nonbook retailers a 32% share.

BNC plans to continue the survey, conducted by Bowker Market Research, through 2013 and more information is available at http://www.booknetcanada.ca/canadian-book-consumer/