Book reading and purchasing; Consumer and government spending on culture

Volume: 4 Issue: 4

Legacy ID (armUID): 
This month: reports on book reading and purchasing as well as consumer and government spending on culture.
ARM_vol4_no4.pdf268.67 KB


  • This January 2005 survey of almost 2,000 Canadians 16 and older shows that a vast majority of Canadians – 87% – read a book for pleasure in the past year. Over half of Canadians read books for pleasure "every day" or "almost every day". On average, Canadians indicated that they read 17 books for pleasure in 2004.
  • Who Buys Books in Canada?, a recent report in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series by Hill Strategies Research, shows that a total of $1.1 billion was spent on books in 2001. An average of $196 was spent by each of the 5.7 million households with book spending. The 5.7 million households with book spending represent 48% of all households in Canada.

  • An online self-publishing website has compiled information from the New York Times bestseller list from 1955 to 2005. The results? Women are currently more prevalent than ever on the bestseller list, having written 50% of the #1 bestsellers thus far in 2005, according to a July press release. This compares with 18% in the first decade of the study and 24% in the 1980s. Over the 50-year timeframe, the most prolific bestselling female author is Danielle Steele, with 26 #1 bestsellers.
  • Consumer Spending on Culture shows that Canadian consumers spent $22.8 billion on cultural goods and services in 2003, an amount that is greater than consumer spending on tobacco, alcohol and games of chance combined. The $22.8 billion in consumer spending is over three times larger than the $7.4 billion spent on culture in by all levels of government in 2002/03. The report also shows that consumer spending on live performing arts events ($980 million) is nearly double the spending on live sporting events ($530 million).
  • This report, commissioned by the Canadian Conference of the Arts from Hill Strategies Research, examines spending on culture by federal, provincial, and municipal governments in Canada. Total government spending on culture, including transfers, was $7.4 billion in 2002-03. Of that total, heritage and libraries received $3.7 billion (50%), the cultural industries received $2.5 billion (34%), multiculturalism and other cultural activities received $690 million (9%), and the arts received the smallest share at $550 million (7%).