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Book publishers 2004

Catalogue no. 87F0004XIE

October 25, 200625 October 2006

Performing arts / Book publishing / Arts attendance

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This is the first release of a redesigned survey of book publishers, highlighting data from 2004. As noted in Statistics Canada’s Daily, data from this release “should not be compared with data released previously on this industry since significant changes to the survey of book publishers have been made.” Rather than a census of all eligible organizations, the new data is collected using a sample.

The new survey data includes traditional book publishers as well as self-publishers, vanity publishers and print-on-demand publishers (the last three being excluded from previous surveys). “In addition, exclusive agents who earn at least 10% of their revenue from book publishing are considered in scope for the survey; pure exclusive agents are excluded.”

The report provides estimated data for 2004, 2000 and 1998 using the new methodology. Although the text summary in Statistics Canada’s Daily notes that the survey respondents are representative of the 330 book publishers eligible for the survey, neither the Daily nor the summary data tables provide the number of publishers responding to the survey.

Total revenues were $2.2 billion for all 330 publishers in 2004, while total expenses amounted to $1.9 billion. Before-tax profits were $235 million, or 10.9% of total revenues. Total revenues and total expenditures both increased by 24% between 1998 and 2004 (before taking inflation into account).

Book publishers produced nearly 17,000 new titles in 2004 and reprinted over 12,000 existing titles. “More than half of the new titles published in 2004 were trade books, that is, adult fiction and non-fiction.” Educational books accounted for more than half of all books reprinted during the year. The data tables indicate that Canadian-authored books accounted for 59% of all new titles published in 2004 and 88% of all titles in print. New titles and reprinted titles both increased by 40% between 1998 and 2004.

The 507 Ontario-based book publishers – one-third of all Canadian publishers – accounted for almost two-thirds of the revenues of all book publishers ($1.4 billion of $2.2 billion). The 523 Quebec-based book publishers earned $526 million in total revenues in 2004, or 24% of the revenues of all Canadian publishers. The 225 British Columbia-based publishers had revenues of $165 million, or 8% of the national total. The 196 Prairie book publishers represented 13% of all publishers but only 2% of national revenues. The 60 Atlantic publishers represented 4% of all Canadian publishers and 1% of national revenues.

Canadian-controlled book publishers produced 86% of all titles printed and about two-thirds of all reprinted titles. Canadian-controlled publishers are considerably smaller, on average, than foreign-controlled publishers. The “19 foreign-controlled publishers, who represented less than 6% of all companies surveyed, accounted for 47% of total revenues”. Foreign-controlled publishers captured 59% of the total of $1.4 billion in Canadian sales. Similarly, 67% of all educational book sales in Canada were from foreign-controlled publishers. In addition, 80% of foreign-controlled publishers were profitable in 2004, compared with 60% of Canadian-controlled publishers.

The summary data tables for book publishers are available at

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