Who Buys Books in Canada (March 2005)

$1.1 billion spent on books by the 48% of Canadian households that purchase books

This report 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.

The report examines spending on books, not all those who read books. There are many ways to enjoy books without spending money on them, such as borrowing from libraries or friends.

The $1.1 billion spent on books is fairly similar to overall spending on newspapers ($1.2 billion) and movie theatre admissions ($1.2 billion) and amounts to more than double the spending on live sporting events ($451 million). Only newspapers, movie theatres and magazines attracted more households than books in 2001: 63% of all Canadian households spent some money on newspapers; 61% reported some spending on movie theatres; 54% reported some spending on magazines; and 48% reported some spending on books.

Book spending varies across the country:

  • In the Prairie provinces, 53% of all households reported some book spending. Total spending on books was $196 million, or $194 per household reporting spending.
  • In British Columbia, 52% of all households reported some spending on books. Total spending was $159 million, or $195 per household reporting spending.
  • In Ontario, 50% of all households reported some spending on books. Total spending was $465 million, or $212 per household reporting spending.
  • In the Atlantic provinces, 45% of all households reported some book spending. Total spending on books was $64 million, or $159 per household reporting spending.
  • In Quebec, 41% of all households reported some book spending. Total spending was $209 million, or $170 per household reporting spending.

Variations in book spending by community size, income, age and children at home is also examined.

Read the full report
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