Who buys books and magazines in Canada?

Spending on books increased between 2001 and 2008, while magazine spending decreased

This report provides a detailed analysis of Canadians who spent money on books and magazines in 2008. The data is drawn from Statistics Canada's Survey of Household Spending, a questionnaire of the spending habits of 9,787 Canadian households.

Book spending of $106 per Canadian household

In 2008, consumer spending on books was $1.403 billion, or an average of $106 for each of the 13.2 million households in the country. About one-half of Canadian households (47%) spent some money on books in 2008. In households with any spending, the average amount spent on books was $226.

Magazine spending of $47 per Canadian household

In 2008, consumer spending on magazines was $623 million, or an average of $47 for each household in the country. About one-half of Canadian households (46%) spent some money on magazines and periodicals in 2008. In households with any spending, the average amount spent on magazines was $104.

Spending on books increased between 2001 and 2008

After adjusting for inflation, consumer spending on books increased by 9% between 2001 and 2008 (from $1.287 billion to $1.403 billion). Other book spending statistics held steady.

Magazine spending decreased substantially between 2001 and 2008

After adjusting for inflation, consumer spending on magazines and periodicals decreased by 22% between 2001 and 2008 (from $801 million to $623 million). In 2001, 54% of Canadian households reported spending any money on magazines and periodicals, a figure that had decreased to 46% by 2008.

Education, household income and province are correlated with book and magazine spending.

Education, household income, province and size of municipality of residence are the four demographic variables that have a consistently strong correlation with book spending. Education, household income and province of residence are the three demographic variables that have a strong correlation with magazine spending.

Book and magazine buyers are active cultural participants

Book and magazine buyers are active in a range of cultural activities in their communities. The report shows that there is a strong crossover between book buyers, magazine buyers, art buyers as well as those who spend money on museums, performing arts events, live sports events and movies. Households with spending on these items are much more likely to also spend money on books than the Canadian average, indicating that book and magazine marketing strategies could target other cultural participants.

Further details available below

The Executive Summary and the full report are available below, containing much more detail about household variations in book and magazine spending, based on factors such as education, income, age, sex, the presence (or absence) of children in the household, household size, respondents with a disability, rural and urban households, as well as province.

Read the full report
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Who buys books and magazines in Canada?1.04 MB
Related documentation
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Executive Summary (4 pages)129.56 KB