Canadian Publishers Report Revenues of $2.2 Billion
Leah Eichler -- 9/25/00

Canada's book publishers and exclusive agents reported total revenues for 1998-1999 rose 10% to $2.2 billion (about $1.5 billion at current exchange levels), generating a pretax profit of $137 million, or 6% of revenues, with only about 60% of the firms operating above the break-even point, according to a Statistics Canada report.

Of the $2.2 billion, more than $1.6 billion was generated from sales in Canada. Books printed and sold outside the country accounted for $293 million, while exports accounted for some $130 million. Less than $100 million was attributed to grants and other related items.

The U.S. accounted for 71% of Canadian export revenues for English-language publishers, followed by South and Central America and the U.K. For French-language publishers, France accounted for 57% of export sales and the U.S. for 21%.

The government agency's report remarked on the growing importance of chain stores to English-language publishers. Sales to chain stores rose 24% in 1998-1999 from 1996- 1997the last year a survey on the industry was completed. Retail sales totaled $925 million in 1998-1999, with $290 million, or 31%, being attributed to the chains. Meanwhile, independent bookstores sales fell 10%, to $247 million, while sales to campus bookstores increased 21%, to $187 million. Retail sales to department stores totaled $27 million while sales at warehouse clubs and discount stores were $55 million. Internet retailers accounted for $2 million of the retail total. Sales to the institutional sector, including libraries and schools, accounted for $368 million in revenues, while sales to wholesalers were at $193 million.

In 1996-1997, there were 548 book publishers and exclusive agents, compared with 529 in 1998-1999.