Book Buying in Canada Shifts to Digital - eMarketer

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Book Buying in Canada Shifts to Digital

Chain stores lose their lead

October 29, 2015

In just two short years, Canadian book buying habits have shifted dramatically to digital, according to research.

Primary Location/Channel Where Internet Users in Canada Purchased Books, 2013 & 2015 (% of respondents)

BookNet Canada and Nielsen Book found that the share of internet users in Canada who said digital was their primary location for buying books rose by 13.5 percentage points between 2013 and 2015, reaching 36.4%—and, in the process, becoming the leading primary book-buying destination in the country.

Back in 2013, chain stores were the No. 1 place to buy books. Chain stores lost share between 2013 and 2015, but not much—just 1.2 percentage points. But discount stores were also down, along with book stores and grocery stores. As brick-and-mortar locations became less popular, mobile also nearly doubled in share, from 18.% in 2013 to 3.0% in 2015.

These changes occurred despite almost no changes to the physical—or nonphysical—books internet users in Canada were buying. In 2013, 17.1% of books purchased by this group were ebooks; in 2015, the figure had barely budged, to 16.9%. The share of books purchased in paperback dropped by a negligible 0.1 percentage points, while hardcover purchases were up by less than 1 percentage point.

Whatever is driving the shift to online book purchases, it isn’t a shift to digital books.

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