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Only One of the Top 10 Performing Titles on the Canadian English-Language Market in the First Half of the Year Was Frontlist Content

From Publishing Perspectives:

In one of its periodic market research updates released for today’s editions (July 11), BookNet Canada reports that backlist sales have remained dominant in the Canadian market for the first half of this year.

“The bestselling titles of 2018,” writes the BookNet staff from Toronto, “are also topping the lists into 2019.”

Specifically cited titles include Yum and Yummer by Greta Podleski (Granet Publishing) and 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson (Random House of Canada) are seen in the leading slots, although they’ve swapped positions since last year’s publication, with Podleski’s cookbook coming out on top in recent months.

The next three top-selling Canadian titles, per BookNet, are all fiction:

  • The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson (William Morrow Paperbacks)
  • Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and illustrator Sheila McGraw (Firefly Books, published originally in 1986 with a pop-up edition added in 2017))
  • The Quaintland Sisters by Shelley Wood (William Morrow Paperbacks)

Both The Gown and The Quaintland Sisters are historical fiction novels, as BookNet’s memo notes, and Woods’ title is the only book out of all 10 bestsellers that came out in 2019, although The Gown was released on the last day of 2018.

. . . .

It’s in that report that we learned that 60 percent of the print sales in English-language titles in Canada in 2018 were from backlist. And that was a second-year trend. In both 2017 and 2018, only 40 percent of sales were from frontlist.

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

Non-US

3 Comments to “Only One of the Top 10 Performing Titles on the Canadian English-Language Market in the First Half of the Year Was Frontlist Content”

  1. Canadian reader

    Face it. Margaret Atwood sells more copies of Handsmaid’s Tale than all the other Canadian books combined.

    Both the books you named are piled in that row at Costco. Where most physical books are sold these days. Greta Podleski’s cookbook is pretty good, a great follow up to the two Looney Spoons cookbooks.

  2. This of course has nothing to do with writers blowing off bad publisher contracts and going indie/self-pub, leaving trad-pub with the leftovers to flog off on the public.

  3. Canada is in an odd place because they have broad cultural protectionism laws yet get their BPH books from a mix of US, Uk, and local editions. And they have historically squeezed Amazon on books (at one time they had to buy from Indigo/Chapters to serve local buyers) so they have little incentive to try to grow their presence.
    And Indigo has been growing their “cultural department store” over their book content. Also, a few years back they tried to up their paid placement rates. Don’t know if they got it or not or are bucking for another boost.

    Lots of possibilities that don’t involve reader habits but it might be that readers are responding to high prices by waiting for titles to go backlist and cheaper.

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