20 Book Industry Statistics for Canadian Bookworms

The enchanting world of reading may keep you on the edge of your seat for hours on end. If you are big on this activity and want to learn more about the book industry, you’re in the right place! Our editorial team compiled the most significant book industry statistics in this article. Dive right in!

Top 10 Book Industry Statistics 2021

  • The worth of the global book publishing industry is US$109.3 billion.
  • As of January 2021, 75% of purchases were print books.
  • Canadian publishers record positive ROI from books by and about diverse audiences.
  • As many as 66% of Canadians bought ebooks from Amazon in the last 12 months.
  • In 2021, the revenue of the global ebook market is US$16,109 million.
  • The book publishing industry in Canada ranks 13th by the market size, book publishing industry statistics confirm.
  • The “industry standard” for royalties is 25% of net receipts.
  • With 500 million copies sold, Don Quixote is the best-selling book of all time.
  • Around half of Canadian readers discover new reads through in-person browsing.
  • Elisabeth Badinter is the richest author in the world, with a net worth of US$1.3 billion.

Global Book Facts and Stats

To kick things off, let us dive into the global book industry. You will learn about the market size, the latest trends, and the main driving forces reinventing the entire industry.

1. In 2021, the revenue of the global ebook market is US$16.109 million.

(Statista)

Ebook publishing trends indicate that the projected revenue in 2022 is US$17,036 million. Most of that revenue will come from the United States, Japan, China, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

2. The worth of the global book publishing industry is US$109.3 billion.

(IBIS World)

The growth of the industry in 2021 was estimated to be 5.9%. That said, the market size of the global book publishing industry declined 0.2% on average per year in 2016–2021. What’s more, the industry’s market size decreased faster than the economy overall.

3. Amazon publishes over 90% of all self-published books.

(Author Imprints)

Astoundingly, in 2007, Amazon published only 6% of all self-published books. Fast forward to 2018, and Amazon publishes 92% of the books. Moreover, self-publishing statistics show that Amazon issued 56% of the ISBNs in 2012 — a significant increase compared to the year before (37% of the ISBNs).

4. Ebook user penetration is expected to reach 13.6% in 2021.

(Statista)

It’s also expected to grow to 14.9% by 2025. Ebook sales statistics indicate that the revenue is forecast to show a CAGR of 3.44%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$18,443 million by 2025.

5. As of 2021, 68,670 people are employed in the book publishing industry in the US.

(IBIS World)

The average business in the industry employs more workers now than it did five years ago. In other words, the number of people employed in the US book publishing industry increased 1.4% on average in 2016–2021. Despite that, the revenue per employee for the average business has decreased in those years.

Book Industry Statistics in Canada

Learn about the state of the industry in Canada, the market size, the largest publishers, and much more. Without further ado, dive right in!

6. Juvenile and young adult books generated the most sales in 2020, with a share of around 41.2%. 

(Statista)

According to book sales statistics by year, non-fiction is quite popular, too. However, the sales dropped slightly from 33.9% of all book sales in 2019 to 33.2% in 2020. Lastly, fiction books made up 24.1% of the total sales.

7. Canada’s book publishing industry amounts to around US$1.7 billion in 2021.

(IBIS World)

The industry’s market size in Canada declined 1.1% on average in 2016–2021. Astoundingly, it declined faster than the economy overall. That being said, the industry’s market size is forecast to increase 0.5% in 2021, based on publishing industry trends.

8. As of January 2021, 75% of purchases were print books.

(BookNet Canada)

Paperback purchases made up half of the book sales, with 25% of them being hardcovers. Notably, in 2018–2020, paperback purchases slightly declined. In contrast, hardcover purchases were more or less flat, with increases recorded in Q4 each year.

9. Print sales in the first half of 2021 increased compared to the first six months of 2020.

(BookNet Canada)

Print book sales statistics reveal that the sales marked a significant increase of around 1.5 million units and $47 million YOY. Compared to the first half of 2019, however, the current book market in Canada is still behind.

To elaborate, the revenue in the first half of 2019 was approximately $480 million (23 million units). That is more than what was recorded in the first six months of 2021 — around $464 million (22 million units).

10. The book publishing industry in Canada ranks 13th by market size.

(IBIS World)

Overall, it’s the 322nd largest industry. The negative factors that affect the book publishing industry are high competition and declining life cycle stage.

11. Around half of the Canadian readers discover new reads through in-person browsing.

(BookNet Canada)

Book industry statistics in Canada suggest that 51% of Canadians find new books browsing online. Notably, the book category is among the most popular categories, attracting 31% of Canadian online shoppers.

Word of mouth drives the sales too. Of all readers who bought books, 47% made purchases because someone suggested books to them.

12. Canadian publishers record positive ROI from books by and about diverse audiences.

(Ontario Creates)

For instance, in 2019, 78% of books by and about people who are LGBTQIA+ had positive ROI, according to publisher statistics. The same was true for 79% of books by and about women. Notably, 89% of books by and about Black, Indigenous, or people of colour had a positive return on investment, too.

13. The “industry standard” for royalties is 25% of net receipts.

(TWUC)

According to The Writers’ Union of Canada, standard royalty rates for hardcover and trade paperback start at 10% and move to 15% of the list price. That results in the following amounts for the author — between $2.00 and $3.00 on trade and between $3.50 and $5.25 on hardcovers.

14. As many as 66% of Canadians bought ebooks from Amazon in the last 12 months.

(Statista)

A survey of 18–64 y.o. Canadians published in August 2021 revealed that most of them flock to the retail giant to buy ebooks. Besides being a major player in the ebook segment, Amazon also has a big chunk of the audiobook market share.

According to ebook popularity statistics, 26% of bookworms made purchases from Google Play Store, and 24% opted for purchasing from Apple Books. Only 7% of Canadians bought ebooks from Barnes & Noble.

15. The Skin We’re In from Desmond Cole is the number one book on the CBC’s top 10 bestseller list.

(CBC)

What’s more, the book won the 2020 Toronto Book Award. The Skin We’re In looks at Cole’s life in Canada as a Black person. It chronicles his activism, journalism, and stories that made the headlines in the country. Notably, it’s the author’s first book.

Fun Book Facts and Other Trivia

Time to wrap up our stats page with more noteworthy facts about the book industry. Read on to learn what caught the eye of our in-house bookworms.

16. With 500 million copies sold, Don Quixote is the best-selling book of all time.

(James Clear)

The novel of Miguel de Cervantes is also often referred to as “the first modern novel.” As for other best-selling books, sales statistics indicate that A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is second on the list with 200 million copies sold. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is third with 150 million copies sold.

17. Elisabeth Badinter is the richest author in the world, with a net worth of US$1.3 billion.

(Mental Floss)

Best known for her book L’Amour en plus, Elisabeth Badinter is the richest author in the world with a net worth of US$1.3 billion. Badinter is followed by J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series with a net worth of US$1 billion. Third place goes to James Patterson with a net worth of US$560 million.

18. The most profiting categories on Amazon are Crime & Mystery and Romance & Erotica. 

(Proactive Writer)

Sales of the books in the Crime & Mystery category, for instance, generated US$728.2 million, most popular book genre statistics confirm. As for the books in the Romance & Erotica category, their sales amounted to US$1.44 billion.

19. Codex Leicester is the most expensive book of all time.

(Book Riot)

The Codex Leicester, Leonardo da Vinci’s science diary, holds the world record for the most expensive book of all times. It was purchased in 1994 for US$30.8 million (US$53.5 million). The book contains da Vinci’s musings on a range of scientific topics.

20. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is the most expensive fiction ever sold.

(Book Riot)

The current record-holder was printed back in 1477 and was sold in 1998 for US$7.6 million (US$11.6 million), book sales statistics by the author confirm.

Conclusion

The Canadian book publishing industry seems to be bouncing back, with many people buying physical goods, including books.

It is forecast that the industry’s market size will increase 0.5% in 2021. What’s more, Canadians remain loyal to the print. They are more than willing to purchase books by and about diverse audiences.

FAQ

How many new books are published each year?

UNESCO’s statistics from 123 countries reveal that approximately 2.2 million books are published per year.

(Ask Wonder)

How many copies does the average book sell?

The publisher size most certainly affects the number of sales. For instance, a micro-press averages 75 to 2,000 regardless of book type. On the other hand, a small independent press might garner an average of 300 to 2,000 for story collections and 500 to 10,000 for novels.

Big publishers might average between 2,000 and 40,000 copies for novels and 1,000 to 20,000 for story collections.

(Electric Lit)

How much is the book industry worth?

As of 20221, the worth of the global book publishing industry is US$109.3 billion. The growth of the industry was estimated to be 5.9%.

(IBIS World)

What percentage of books are self-published?

In 2018, around 1.7 million books were self-published in the US. By 2019, the total number of books published in the country reached 4 million. Following that, about 42.5% of all published books are self-published.

(Berrett-Koehler Publishers)

How many ebooks are sold each year?

It is difficult to gather precise figures since smaller publishers and major retailers such as Amazon are missing from the sales data. That said, it has been estimated that around 191 million ebooks were sold in 2020 in the US alone.

(Statista)

How big is the ebook market?

According to book industry statistics, the revenue of the ebook segment in Canada reached US$749 million in 2021. It is forecast to grow to US$776 million in 2022.

(Statista)

Sources:

With over a decade of experience in writing and two decades in making music, Szabolcs is all ears when it comes to creating written and audio content. As an active touring/recording musician and creative writer, he focuses on exploring new places, experiences, and topics. He also rediscovered his long lost love for gaming, which only fueled his appetite to research new tech trends. Lastly, his enthusiasm toward powerlifting also means that he's trying to be well-versed in other topics too, such as lifestyle, fitness, resistance training, bodybuilding, and strength sports.

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