Report explores Canadian book sales


Advertise with us

Support for independent bookstores and development of new book-industry software to help track and promote Canadian titles are among the recommendations of an industry report on the shrinking sales of Canadian books over the past decade-plus.

Read this article for free:


Already have an account? Log in here »

To continue reading, please subscribe:

Monthly Digital Subscription

$4.75 per week*

  • Enjoy unlimited reading on
  • Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
  • Access News Break, our award-winning app
  • Play interactive puzzles

*Billed as $19.00 plus GST every four weeks. Cancel anytime.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/12/2018 (1625 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Support for independent bookstores and development of new book-industry software to help track and promote Canadian titles are among the recommendations of an industry report on the shrinking sales of Canadian books over the past decade-plus.

The More Canada report, produced by a think tank of industry experts, noted that the market share of Canadian-written books has dropped to 13 per cent — from 27 per cent — since 2005, even as the number of Canadian titles published has increased.

The report notes that Canadian-owned publishers produced more than 2,600 Canadian-written trade titles in 2017-18, compared to 2,200 in 1997-98. For books published by Canadian-owned publishers, the average Canadian-written trade book sold 343 copies in its first year of publication in 2017. For Canadian books published by foreign-owned publishers, the average first-year sale was 2,251 copies.

The report contains 65 recommendations, including government support for independent bookstores and development of book-tracking software that tags Canadian titles. Currently, if you search for or buy a Canadian-written book, software won’t automatically recommend other Canadian titles.

The report also recommends greater CBC focus on promoting Canadian books, though it should be noted that the decline in Canadian book sales has occurred since the national broadcaster launched its annual Canada Reads program.

The report is available online at

● ● ●

One possible recommendation for boosting Canadian books might be “Publish more driving manuals.”

Canada’s largest library system recently released the list of its 10 most frequently borrowed books for 2018 and leading the pack, with 4,665 borrowings as of Dec. 10, was a perennial favourite: The Official MTO Driver’s Handbook.

Eight of the other top 10 titles at the Toronto Public Library were in the mystery/thriller genre, including books by Canadians Michael Redhill (Bellevue Square), Linwood Barclay (Parting Shot) and Louise Penny (Glass Houses).

The only non-thriller, non-driving handbook to make the list was Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff’s book on the Trump presidency.

● ● ●

Winnipeg novelist/historian Allan Levine is nominated for the RBC Taylor Prize for non-fiction for his book Seeking the Fabled City: The Canadian Jewish Experience (see the review on this page).

Among the other high-profile titles on the list are All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir by Elizabeth Hay, winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust prize for non-fiction; Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age by Darrel J. McLeod, winner of the Governor General’s Award for English language non-fiction; and Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot, which has been hailed by reviewers in the New York Times, the Guardian and elsewhere.

The winner will be announced March 4.

● ● ●

Writers: Do you have thoughts on the changing nature of work, the challenge of finding or keeping work or the meaning of work?

Winnipeg-based literary magazine Prairie Fire is looking for submissions of fiction, creative non-fiction, essays or poetry for a special issue to be called Work Matters.

Submissions are due Jan. 18; details are available at

● ● ●

British spy novelist John le Carré is still going strong at the age of 87 with the announcement of his 25th novel, Agent Running in the Field.

Le Carré burst to prominence with his third book, the Cold War thriller The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, in the 1960s. He turns his attention in the new book to “rage and division” and “the spirit of political turbulence” in his forthcoming book, his publisher at Viking announced.

It’s been a busy few years for the le Carré industry. This year, his entire body of work was republished in the Penguin Modern Classics series and his 1983 novel The Little Drummer Girl was adapted for television by the BBC.

If you value coverage of Manitoba’s arts scene, help us do more.
Your contribution of $10, $25 or more will allow the Free Press to deepen our reporting on theatre, dance, music and galleries while also ensuring the broadest possible audience can access our arts journalism.
BECOME AN ARTS JOURNALISM SUPPORTER Click here to learn more about the project.

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us