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Book publishing industry

September 8, 20088 September 2008

Book publishing and reading

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The most recent Statistics Canada summary of the book publishing industry shows that book publishing revenues in Canada were $2.1 billion in 2006, while total expenses amounted to $1.9 billion. Before-tax profits were 10.3% of total revenues.

Domestic sales account for about three-quarters of total revenues, while 12% of revenues are earned from book exports. Domestic sales include $943 million from sales of publishers’ own titles and $559 from exclusive agency book sales. Exclusive agency is particularly important in the children’s book market.

Ontario-based book publishers, including foreign-controlled firms, accounted for 63% of the revenues of all book publishers ($1.3 billion of $2.1 billion). Quebec-based book publishers, including foreign-controlled firms, earned $580 million in total revenues in 2006, or 28% of the Canadian total. British Columbia-based publishers had revenues of $117 million, or 6% of the national total.

Foreign-controlled book publishers, all of which operate from Ontario and Quebec, represent 42% of overall operating revenues. Foreign-controlled firms are also much more profitable than Canadian-owned firms (operating profit margins of 13.3% and 8.1%, respectively).

Between 2005 and 2006, total revenues decreased by 1.2%, while total expenditures increased by 0.9% (before taking inflation into account). The increase in total expenditures was driven by a 2.0% increase in salaries, wages and benefits, which represent 20% of operating expenses. Before-tax profits decreased from 12.1% to 10.3% of operating revenues.

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