New insights into the Canadian print book market released by BookNet Canada

In 2018, the top-selling English-language Juvenile & YA book was The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith and illustrated by Katz Cowley.

Two out of every five print books sold in 2018 in both the English- and French-language markets in Canada were categorized as either Juvenile or Young Adult (YA), according to new research released by BookNet Canada. For the first time this year, the annual The Canadian Book Market report includes top-level highlights for the French-language market provided by the Société de gestion de la Banque de titres de langue française (BTLF). Non-Fiction and Fiction sales were also fairly similar between the English and French Canadian markets, accounting for 34-35% and 25%, respectively.

In 2018, the top-selling English-language Juvenile & YA book was The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith and illustrated by Katz Cowley. The French-language top-seller was L'agent Jean!, an instalment in the L'ADN de l'impossible series.

While Juvenile & YA books continue to dominate the print book market, as they have for the past few years, Non-Fiction books accounted for the top four English-language books of the past year. As previously reported, Michelle Obama's Becoming was the top-selling print book of 2018 with only seven weeks of sales, followed by The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson; 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson; and Educated by Tara Westover. The top-selling title from a Canadian-owned publisher was Yum and Yummer by cookbook author Greta Podleski.

Meanwhile, other insights from the new report show that the Political Science category saw an 87.5% increase in unit sales between 2017 and 2018, with titles like Fear by Bob Woodward and Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff topping that list. Other Non-Fiction categories that saw year-over-year growth were House & Home (up 57.9%) and Psychology (up 42.1%), which was largely thanks to Peterson's 12 Rules for Life.

Among Fiction books, unit sales in the Asian American sub-genre grew 384% thanks to Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians, which was adapted into a movie in 2018, and his follow-up books China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems. The Media Tie-In sub-genre also did well, growing 117% with credit to David Baldacci and Robert Galbraith, and sales for Women Fiction books grew 21.3%, buoyed by Lisa Jewell's Then She Was Gone.

These and other insights into book sales and consumer buying habits are available in The Canadian Book Market 2018. BookNet Canada's tentpole publication reports on sales value, sales volume, and number of ISBNs with sales in 2018, as tracked by BNC SalesData, the national sales tracking service for the print English-language trade market in Canada. The report is a comprehensive guide to more than 50 subject categories, complete with year-over-year comparative data, market share for Canadian-owned publishers, the top sellers in each category, price-point analysis, performance by publication date, and top-level data on consumer buying habits, including format distribution.

A sample of the report is available at, along with links to purchase. You can also take a look at the infographic on the BookNet Canada Blog for total volume and value sold for the year. Coming up later in 2019, BookNet Canada will be releasing reports on diverse books in the Canadian marketplace and information on the state of bookselling across Canada, among other new research projects.

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.

—BookNet Canada


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.