Slight decrease in book sales in 2016

Québec, May 11, 2017. – New book sales in Québec slid from $608 million in 2015 to $603 million in 2016, a 1% (–$5.3 million) drop. This decline, albeit weak, was part of a degressive trend. When compared to sales from five years ago (2012), 2016 sales dropped by $74 million (11%). This information comes from a survey conducted by the Observatoire de la culture et des communications of the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

Although we witnessed an overall drop of 1% from 2015 to 2016, the situation varied according to the types of points of sale. Book sales remained stable in the bookstore market (+0.4%), but they were down 6% in the mass market, which includes the other types of retailers: department stores, discount superstores, newspaper stands, drugstores, hardware stores, etc. To these two large categories of merchants can be added publishers and book distributors, which also sell directly to individuals and institutions. From 2015 to 2016, sales directly from publishers rose by 2%, while those from book distributors dropped by 16%.

These statistics were drawn from the bulletin Optique culture No. 54, “Les ventes de livres en 2015 et 2016,” which is available on the website of the Institut de la statistique du Québec.


The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for carrying out all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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