As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, BookNet Canada, the government sponsored organization responsible for tracking book sales and statistics, conducted a study Canadians Reading Canadians, which shares book buyers’ attitudes about Canadian authors, as well as their reading habits. Among other things, the report found that the Canadian author who is most recognizable in the country is Margaret Atwood.
The report, which updates a similar effort conducted in 2012, found that in the past year 44% of Canadian book buyers read a book by a Canadian author. This is up from the 24% of respondents who said they had in 2012. Furthermore, 41% of book buyers had read at least one book on a Canadian subject, nearly double the 22% who said they had in 2012.
When asked to name a Canadian author, 37% of book buyers named Margaret Atwood. The writer has once again graced the bestseller lists with The Handmaid's Tale, which has also been a top-five bestselling paperback in Canada this year.
However, 20% of respondents couldn't name a single Canadian author. This statistic is, nonetheless, an improvement over 2012, when that number was 32%.
The survey also revealed the Canadians are still apt to buy books, with 82% of readers acquired books by purchasing them. Receiving books as a gift (43%), borrowing from friends and family (43%), buying used books (42%), and borrowing from the library (41%), were also significant ways in which readers acquired books.
That said, so far this year, from January to June, Canadians bought C$398 million ($319.8 million) worth of English-language print trade books, according to BNC SalesData, and also reported by BookNet Canada this week. The data indicates that the value of sales was down 2.7% from last year.
The report also indicated a slight increase in interest in e-books, with purchases up 3% over last year. So far this year, ebooks represent 20% of the market, behind paperbacks at 51% and hardcovers at 23%.
Furthermore, online sales were up 2% from the same period last year, and have so far accounted for 52% of books sales this year. Chain bookstores, represented primarily by Indigo Books, have 25% of the market.