Canadian Book / eBook Sales Statistics ©

Selling eBooks and other electronic publications can be a lucrative online business in itself, or as part of a niche business. Virtually everyone has advanced expertise in something and often a business can be built around that knowledge. Blogs provide the perfect foundation for niche publications, but there’s also potential for them in niche retail. If you don’t want to produce your own electronic publications, there are many opportunities for affiliate income from the sale of eBooks or eCourses related to your niche.

Kobo Canada eReaderIs there an eBook Market in Canada?

BookNet recently released The Canadian Book Consumer 2012 Annual Report.  The results (based on a survey of 4000 Canadian, English-speaking book buyers) closely reflect those from 2011.

The report indicates eBook sales are holding steady at 15%. Paperbacks lead the pack at 58% and hardcover scores 24% of all book sales. The first quarter of 2012 was the strongest for eBook sales at 17.6%, which BookNet suggests is probably due to Canadians receiving eReading devices as holiday gifts. Hardcover books appear to be most popular for holiday gifts

“The research suggests that the ebook market in Canada may have reached a plateau,” suggests BookNet Canada President and CEO, Noah Genner. “Early 2013 data backs this up. So far, we’re seeing the same pattern repeating itself.”

Canadian eBook Readers use several devices:

25.2% prefer the Kobo eReader
18.4% prefer the Kindle eReader
14.0% read their eBooks on iPad

‘Brick and Mortar’ Book Stores Still A Canadian Favorite

25% of Canadian book buyers prefer to shop online and 19% of those purchases were print books, according to the BookNet Canada report. We show a preference for buying offline in stores, with 37% of those surveyed enjoying bookstore shopping and 37% shopping at other offline stores that carry books.

Offline book retailers will be encouraged by the surprisingly low instance of ‘showrooming’, which is the practice of viewing an item in a store and then finding the best price online. 55% of book consumers stated they rarely compared store prices.

Offline book stores can have the best of both worlds with a strong, functional web presence that compliments their ‘brick and mortar’ store.  A website and online newsletter can inform your customers of new stock and promotions.  You could also offer eBooks on the website, perhaps featuring local writers or otherwise unique products that don’t throw you up against giants like Amazon.

Improving Online Book Sales

Online businesses must improve the customer experience for Canadian consumers if they wish to grab a larger share of book sales. Convenience was cited as a top reason for choosing offline book purchases, which can be improved online to a certain extent.

It’s unfortunate that the cost of shipping through Canada Post is crippling small businesses, making it virtually impossible to provide fast shipping options (or slow ones, for that matter). This leaves eBook downloads as the most viable option for netpreneurs, which eliminates the need for Canada Post. Consumers can have their book immediately, leaving you to manage other deciding factors, such as secure, easy transactions and customer service.

Do you sell eBooks online in Canada?  Please let us know how your experience compares with these statistics.

The Canadian Book Consumer 2012 Annual Report
Chandler, Stephanie. From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur: Make Money with Books, eBooks, and Information Products. 2006.
Dean, Nicole. Ebook Profits For Infoproduct Marketers

You may also be interested in reading:
Ebook and Online Sales Blamed for Drop in Canadian Offline Book Sales
How the Business of eBooks is Changing Publishing [Infographic]
2013 Online Shopper Statistics Reveal Issues with Canada’s E-Retailers
Canadian Online Retail (eCommerce) Statistics & Tips
Online Canadian Businesses Need Easy, Affordable Shipping Options


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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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Seems ebooks are stuck for now but I can see them winning in the future. I like paper books though and I think they’ll always be around.


I like being able to read books immediately yet still get a good price so I usually buy ebooks.


Ebooks will become more popular but they’ll never replace printed books.


Very useful information for book dealers. I don’t believe ebooks are the big threat to print that some think but its time to take them more seriously. Change doesn’t have to be threatening… can be an opportunity. I like how you always present information that way, encouraging businesses and guiding them with your learned insight. Doomsday internet competition stories are discouraging and they don’t give enough credit to adaptation. Survival of the fittest. 😀