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Booknet Canada Reports Print Sales Down 2.7% in First Half of 2017

Booknet Canada has released some sales data and consumer survey data covering the first half of this year.

One the one side, official sales channels report print sales are down (there’s no comparable ebook sales data). On the other side, consumer surveys have shown a slight increase in preference for ebooks.

press release:

Canadian book buyers spent $398 million on print books in the English-language trade market during the first six months of 2017. Comparing value sold for a group of comparable stores for the first half of 2017 versus the same period last year, overall sales were down 2.7%, according to sales numbers reported to BNC SalesData.

When it comes to format preferences among book buyers in Canada, consumer surveys conducted with 966 book-buying Canadians during the first six months of 2017 show a 3% increase for ebooks versus the same period in 2016. With a 20% share of the market, ebooks remain in third place behind paperback at 51% and hardcover at 23%.

Online shopping, which covers shopping on e-commerce websites, mobile app purchases, and ebook/audio downloads, also saw gains during the first half of 2017, rising from 50% to 52% over the same period last year. The second-most popular channel remains chain bookstores, with a fairly steady 25% of market share.

image by jbcurio

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Noah Genner July 26, 2017 um 10:20 am

I’m pretty sure we have not been 'misleading people' and if people are being misled that was/is not our intention. We have no reason, or need, to paint ebook/digital in 'the worst light' or any 'light' for that matter.
The report you are linking to is based on Canadian publisher/distributor data as supplied to us by them. They have told us that their digital revenue was up but that the number of titles with sales has declined. That’s it – no agenda there.
The consumer numbers come directly from surveying Canadian book-buyers. Our panel showed a slight decline between 2015 and 2016 in digital purchasing and has shown a slight increase in the first half of 2017 vs 2016. Again, those are the numbers – no agenda there.

–Noah Genner, CEO, BookNet Canada

Nate Hoffelder July 26, 2017 um 10:43 am

Noah, BnC chose a misleading title, then it shared that title repeatedly on Twitter for a month and a half. It also tweeted links to articles that echoed the misleading title.

So I’m sure you can see why I reached that conclusion. (and anyway, I deleted the note)

Allen F July 26, 2017 um 11:21 am

Darn, I missed whatever the note was …

Though as this was 'publisher/distributor data', we know it’d have to ignore any/all indie/self-pub PoD and ebooks. And as Data Guy has proven before that means they are not counting a large and growing number of sales.

"The consumer numbers come directly from surveying Canadian book-buyers."

The 'book-buyers' in that statement most likely meant just that – which means despite only asking book buyers they still ended up with 20% saying they buy trad-pub ebooks.

If sells as large percent of a/e/books in Canada as they do the U.S. maybe Data Guy can get us some better numbers.

Noah Genner July 26, 2017 um 6:14 pm

@Allen – Yes, by definition the publisher data does not include self-pubed stuff, but it may include indie publishers (depends on your definition of indie?). You can go read the report on the BookNet site – it is free and the methodology is included. The report that was cited by Nate is a report about Canadian publishers digital publishing so it is not meant to count all the sales.
The consumer data makes no mention of who published the ebooks that the consumer bought. They may be traditionally published, or self-published, many consumers can’t tell. We ask what they bought, and in what format, and across ~2000 purchases in the first half of 2017 20% were digital. We did not say anything about 'trad-pub' in the release, nor did Nate above.
Data Guy has released data on Canada previously. I think?

@Nate – Thanks.


Disgusting dude July 27, 2017 um 9:30 am

February 2017:

He pegged Canadian ebook sales at 34%.

Disgusting dude July 27, 2017 um 9:52 am

US Reports based on reader spend rather than unit sales will invariably understate ebook market penetration and most especially Indie market share as average Tradpub ebook prices run 3-4X the Indie average and Indies have captured 40-50% of the US market.

No malicious intent is required, just (inaccurate) hidden assumptions. Like, "all books in a given format/genre will be priced similarly, ergo reader spend–easily measurable–can be used as a proxy for unit sales–not so easily measured".

What was good enough for granpappy isn’t good enough today.

New Booknet Canada Reports Print Sales Down 2.7% in First Half of 2017 – Stephen's Lighthouse September 7, 2017 um 7:01 am

[…] Booknet Canada Reports Print Sales Down 2.7% in First Half of 2017 […]

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