About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Canadian Print Book Sales

BookNet Canada provides an annual report about print books in Canada. The organization describes itself on its website:

BookNet Canada is a non-profit organization that develops technology, standards, and education to serve the Canadian book industry. Founded in 2002 to address systemic challenges in the industry, BookNet Canada supports publishing companies, booksellers, wholesalers, distributors, sales agents, and libraries across the country.

BookNet says it tracks 85% of the print books sold in Canada.

The 2014 report set out there were 52 million units sold during 2014. The value for the units sold was $934,000,000.

The top fiction sellers were:

            1.) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn; and,
            2.) The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

Categories of market share included:

            1.) Juvenile Fiction – 31%
            2.) Romance – 7%      
            3.) Suspense and Thrillers – 5%
            4.) Biographies and Autobiographies – 4%
            5.) Cooking – 3%
            6.) Mystery and Detective – 3%
            7.) Self-help – 2%

The BookNet blog summarized sales:

Unit sales across the total adult trade print market in 2014 were down by 3.5% compared to 2013, whereas the juvenile trade print market was up 4.1%. Despite the slight decline in the adult trade market, some categories were stronger in 2014 than the previous year, including Historical Fiction (42.6% increase in unit sales), Science (30.2% increase), Mystery & Detective (11.1% increase), and Comics & Graphic Novels (7.7% increase). In addition, sales figures in The Canadian Book Market do not include ebook sales, so the overall book market may be healthier than reflected

I am glad to see mystery and detective sales up significantly.

In an example of how raw statistics can be misleading they asked Canadians if they had read a book written by a Canadian author in the last year.


The initial bars are discouraging:

       Those who responded that they had read a Canadian book
       have decreased from 41% in 2002 to 24% in 2012

However, the third bar shows the number of people unsure if they read a Canadian book went up from just under 20% to just over 40%. 

The author of the report said:

The majority of these participants expressed being somewhat interested in Canadian content. So what seems to be missing isn’t an interest or a desire to consume Canadian literature, it’s knowledge and awareness of who our homegrown talent are and where to find them.

BookNet is encouraging publishers to put a Canadian identifier in the ONIX fields.
How careful we must be in assessing statistics.


  1. Bill, I didn't know juvenile fiction was so popular in Canada. The numbers for historical fiction are impressive too. What kind of historical fiction are Canadians most likely to read?

    1. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. I am not sure on the historical fiction I doubt Canadians are really about Canadian history. More likely it is British. I am not sure where the boundary is between historical fiction and romance but there are a lot of books for sale in Canada set in England involving the rich and the beautiful. There is an author, Mary Balogh, an English immigrant to Saskatchewan who has been very successful with English Regency romance fiction.

    2. Thank you, Bill. Personally, I like reading historical fiction set in and around WW I & II and the American Civil War.

    3. Prashant: Thanks for the further comment. I expect you are like a lot of Canadians who like the same historical fiction. We are not much for reading about Canada's history.

  2. This is really interesting, Bill! It's good that there's a group that keeps track of this data. You're right, though, that it's important to consider carefully what interpretation we make of data. Still, this is some useful information. And like you, I'm glad to know that the mystery/detective sub-genre is growing in popularity.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I have wondered about the comparable American stats. Maybe it is time for some internet sleuthing.