The Canadian book industry saw significant growth in 2000— 2001, with increases in revenue, earnings and the number of new titles issued for that period, according to a long-awaited report published by Statistics Canada. The Survey of Book Publishers and Exclusive Agents, a biennial census of all book publishers and exclusive agents in Canada, is based on a 12-page questionnaire, and covered 627 publishers (643 in 1998—999), including those also acting as exclusive agents, and 45 firms functioning solely as exclusive agents. It reports that these firms recorded revenue of more than C$2.4 billion ($1.5 billion) in this period, up 9.4% from the previous survey period of 1998—999. The survey also found that publishers produced 15,744 new titles and reprinted 12,053 existing titles, an increase of more than 13% over the previous survey period, and an increase of more than 47% from 1996—1997. Textbooks and trade books each accounted for a third of the production, the survey said.
Two key developments influenced what was a reasonably strong year for the industry. According to the report, sales from exports increased at twice the pace of domestic sales, and the share of sales made by foreign-controlled book publishers increased dramatically. The survey reports that foreign-owned firms accounted for 46% of total book sales for the year (despite making up just 4% of 672 active publishing firms), and that their profits increased more than their Canadian-controlled counterparts. Foreign-controlled publishers' sales in Canada grew by 15.8%, to C$846.2 million, compared to Canadian-controlled firms with sales in Canada of C$968.5 million in 2000—2001, up 1.3% from the same period two years earlier.
Also of note is that sales from exports increased at twice the pace of domestic sales from 1998—1999 to 2000—2001. Domestic sales were C$1.8 billion, up 7.6% from two years earlier, while export sales reached C$154.8 million, up 16.2%. The majority of export sales, C$133 million, was generated from sales of publishers' own titles. Canadian publishers also earned an additional C$313 million from the sale of books printed and sold outside of Canada. The U.S. continues to be Canada's biggest foreign market, the report added.
If these figures are any indication, the appetite for Canadian authors grew steadily at home and abroad, since the survey notes that Canadian authors were involved in about 72% of new titles published for that period. Canadian authors' share of children's books and trade titles published grew to 61% and 66%, respectively, and Canadian textbook authorship was also up, at 98%. The survey also underlined the C$48 million in government grants Canadian-controlled publishers received in 2000—2001, which represented about 56% of their pretax profits of C$85.0 million.
Whether the survey is an accurate picture of the current state of Canadian publishing is debatable, since these findings cover the period before the collapse of major Canadian-owned publisher Stoddart, before Amazon.ca set up shop and as Indigo and Chapters were merging.