Canadians’ audiobook purchases in 2019 up slightly over 2018

Toronto, ON – Feb. 12, 2020 – 2019 saw little change across the Canadian book market

In 2019, 5% of book purchases in Canada were for audiobooks, which is up from 3.6% in 2018. Meanwhile, hardcovers accounted for 24% of purchases, which is down from 25.9% in 2018. Otherwise, there has been little change in the format breakdown over the past few years, with paperbacks and ebooks holding steady at around 49% and 17%, respectively.

It should be noted, however, that when it comes to audiobooks, the number of purchases may be underreported, as 26% of audiobooks were acquired through a subscription service and may not have been considered a ‘purchase’ by survey respondents.

These results were compiled from BookNet Canada’s online surveying of adult, English-speaking book buyers from across Canada throughout 2019, which asks book buyers about their book purchases in the prior month.

Other insights from the surveying include the breakdown of purchases according to sales channel. Online channels (including websites, ebook/audio downloads, and mobile apps) accounted for 51% of book purchases in 2019, which is down from 52.5% in 2018, but relatively flat going back to 2017. Physical channels (including chain stores, indies, general retailers, discount stores, book clubs, and grocery) accounted for 49% of purchases, which is up from 47% in 2018, but again, relatively flat since 2017.

When it comes to subjects purchased in 2019 across all formats, 52% were for Fiction titles, 35% for Non-Fiction, and 13% for Juvenile/YA. This is on par with results from previous years of consumer surveying.

BookNet Canada also collects transaction-level data for print sales in the Canadian English-language trade book market through BNC SalesData. Analysis on 2019’s print market will be released later this winter in the annual report, The Canadian Book Market 2019, available at

More research on Canadian book sales, consumer habits, and more can always be found at

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BookNet Canada is a non-profit organization that develops technology, standards, and education to serve the Canadian book industry. Founded in 2002 to address systemic challenges in the industry, BookNet Canada supports publishing companies, booksellers, wholesalers, distributors, sales agents, and libraries across the country.

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:
Zalina Alvi
Marketing & Communications Manager
BookNet Canada
(416) 362-5057 x 2250