Saturday, February 02, 2008

Canadian Reading Habits

The Globe and Mail reports today on “an ambitious, 102-page study of Canada's retail book sector conducted for Canadian Heritage” which “provides a panoramic survey of the industry.” I’ll have to read the study in its entirety to absorb its full implications, but in the meantime the Globe’s summary offers some food for thought. Clearly the report contains disturbing news about the state of bookselling in Canada. But it also provides encouraging statistics about Canadian reading and book buying habits including the following:

average time spent reading: 4.5 hours a week;
average number of books read each year: 17;
percentage of Canadians who buy at least one book a year: 81.

Those numbers seem to me to provide a nice rebuttal to ubiquitous claims about the death of reading.

For the Globe and Mail article, click here, and for the full report, The Book Retail Sector in Canada, click here.


StuckInABook said...

I'm glad Canadians are reading *something* every year, even if not amounting huge piles of books! The figure for us Brits came out a while ago - can't remember what it was, but it was nowhere near as encouraging.

Finn Harvor said...

"average number of books read each year: 17."

I must say, I find this statistic questionable. I'm long enough in the tooth to remember a time when TV wasn't nearly as ubiquitious as it is now, and I only knew a handful of regular readers then. At that time, the argument that the *average* Cdn was reading 17 books would not have seemed credible. Has the situation somehow improved in the 21st Century?

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the information it is very interesting to know about the canadian reading habits to improve my reading.

Graham Broad said...

I find the statistic a little questionable as well (it seems rather high), especially give the 2004 study by the National Endowment for the Humanities in the US, which found that only about half of Americans had read a book the previous year. Are Canadians really that much different?