BookNet Canada released its annual Canadian Leisure & Reading Study recently and, flipping through it, a few things caught my eye.
First, reading isn't as popular in this country as you might think. When study participants listed their favourite leisure activities, reading came in a distant eighth, almost 40% lower than the top ranked activity of watching videos/TV/film. On the plus side, half of all Canadian adults either listened to or read a book at least once a week in 2021 with one-third reading one on a daily basis. Generally, the older a reader was, the more likely they were to read a book daily. Those older readers were also much more likely to favour print books over audio or ebooks.
Second, print books were the preferred format of almost 70% of Canadian readers. Half of all readers also listened to at least one audio book in 2021 and almost two-thirds read at least one ebook.
Third, roughly 20% of readers participated in a book club in 2021, a figure much higher than I would have expected. In addition, almost 40% of readers visited a book-specific social media platform (GoodReads, Wattpad, FanFiction, etc.) at least once last year, a figure that was also much higher than I would have expected.
Forth, word of mouth was the single biggest factor that led to someone learning about a new book in 2021. The most common reason why someone actually read one was its subject matter. Interestingly, most readers paid no attention to who won book awards.
Fifth, more than two-thirds of book readers chose to read adult non-fiction in 2021, with true crime books making up almost 30% of their consumption.