Press room

Who Is the Average Canadian Book Buyer?

New research examines how book buyer profiles differ by genre

Toronto, ON–May 26, 2014In 2013, buyers of Self-Help books were mostly likely to make their purchases in chain bookstores or online, according to a report released today by BookNet Canada. The Canadian Book Consumer 2013: In-Depth Reader Profiles is the first in a series of three reports based on quarterly surveys conducted by BookNet Canada in 2013. The goal of this research was to study consumer book-buying patterns in depth, broken out by book genre, as well as to investigate trends in pricing tolerance, format preference, and where and why Canadians are buying books.

In-Depth Reader Profiles examines the demographics and buying patterns of consumers purchasing specific genres of books. To take buyers of Self-Help books as an example: the study found that readers tend to be younger, with 73% under the age of 45. Their purchases are predominantly planned, with 62% of purchases of a specific title being planned and one quarter of purchases being unplanned. The majority of their purchases take place in chain bookstores (28%) or online (25%), with minimal purchases taking place in traditional bookstores (6%). Overall, sales of print Self-Help books are fairly consistent throughout the year, with the exception of the holiday jump in December, which carries over into January. Just under 4% of Self-Help book buyers find the title they purchase through a magazine ad, which compares to less than 1% of average book buyers. Almost 16% discover their book through a friend’s recommendation. 6% discover their title through mention on a bestseller list, higher than the overall average of 4%.

The study covers eleven top-selling fiction and non-fiction genres: Biography & Autobiography, Business & Economics, Cooking, Health & Fitness, History, Religion, Self-Help, Espionage & Thriller, Fantasy, Mystery & Detective, and Romance. BookNet Canada’s Director of Customer Relations, Pamela Millar, says, “Our findings will assist publishers and retailers in tailoring packaging, merchandising, and promotional efforts for different genres.”

In-Depth Reader Profiles will be available for 25% off until June 9. Two additional reports in the series, Book Purchases by Channel and Digital Sales and Trends, will be released in June. For more information on In-Depth Reader Profiles and to purchase a copy, please visit


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BookNet Canada is a non-profit organization that develops technology, standards and education to serve the Canadian book industry.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) for this project. / Nous reconnaissons l’appui financier du gouvernement du Canada par l’entremise du Fonds du livre du Canada (FLC) pour ce projet.

Media Contact:

Joanna Karaplis
Marketing & Communications Manager
BookNet Canada
(416) 362-5057 x. 231