Public Opinion on the Value of Books in the English Language Book Sector


Association of Canadian Publishers

Artistic Disciplines and Sectors

January 2015

Most Canadians (8 in 10) read books, averaging over five hours per week in reading. Results from various sources including a 1978 Statistics Canada report suggest that the proportion of Canadians who are reading has been increasing over the last 35 years. Reading is a key element of Canadians’ leisure time, occupying about a quarter of all leisure time. The average amount of reported time spent reading books for leisure, work or school is just under six hours per week, potentially rising to seven in the summer months. About a third of Canadians say that 75% or more of their reading time is spent reading fiction. Canadians, and readers in particular, are convinced of the value of reading, seeing the strong social benefits to individual Canadian adults and children (e.g., literacy and creativity), but also to society in general in terms of quality of life, social cohesion and strength of the economy.

This research was commissioned by the Book Strategy Group (BSG), an ad hoc committee representing the interests of Canadian writers and publishers, with financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. The purpose was to reveal current attitudes of English-speaking Canadians about the cultural and economic value of written works. The research explores matters of pricing, copyright law, file-sharing, ownership and lending models, as well as views on Canadian content, and assessments of knowledge and valuation of self-published books and traditionally published books. This research will be used to provide direction to the book industry in its efforts to better engage key influencers and to increase the sustainability and competitiveness of Canadian publishers and writers.

In addition to the summary report below, there are four other reports related to this study including three technical reports providing the full detailed results from the different lines of evidence. These reports are available in English on the Association of Canadian Publishers’ website:

Summary [PDF, 148.4 KB]