Print book sales in Canada last year remained even at 52 million total units, but the total dollar value was down by about C$16 million to C$934 million compared to 2013, according to a new report from BookNet Canada. The nonprofit organization’s annual report, “The Canadian Book Market,” tracks 85% of print book sales in the Canadian English-language market.
Although units of adult trade books sold in 2014 were down 3.5% compared to the previous year, the report says that juvenile trade book sales were up by 4.1% (and accounted for 37% of overall print sales). The most popular books in the adult fiction and juvenile categories were both books that were released in 2012 and made into blockbuster movies last year: Gillian Flynn’s thriller Gone Girl, and John Green’s teen cancer romance The Fault in Our Stars. In the nonfiction category, the top seller of 2014 was Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes.
In addition, sales in several genres increased considerably in 2014. According to the report, historical fiction in Canada saw a 42.6% increase in unit sales compared to 2013, while the science category saw a 30.2% increase, and mystery & detective book sales increased by 11.1%.
BookNet Canada also released a new consumer study called “Listen Up: Audiobook Use in Canada,” which surveyed 400 adult Canadian participants who had listened to at least one audiobook in the past 12 months. That survey found that the majority of audiobook listeners are female (57%), and 76% of listeners prefer to access audiobooks by digital download, as opposed to CDs.
“Anecdotally, BookNet Canada has had discussions with librarians who have mentioned a need for more Canadian content in audiobooks,” the report says. Of the 21,650 audiobooks listed in the organization’s bibliographic database, only 398 are listed as having a Canadian contributor.
In addition, most Canadians are acquiring their audiobooks for free, through the library or online public domain titles, while only 26% of audiobook acquisitions were found to be purchases. The main reasons Canadians choose audiobooks? It allows them to multitask, it’s portable, and it lets them listen while in the car.