Canadians are quick to boast about the quality of their writers, but perhaps it’s time to talk about the quantity of the country’s readers. A new report, Who Buys Books In Canada?, based on 2001 Statistics Canada survey information, reveals that Canadians spent $1.13-billion on books that year—up 23 per cent from 1997 (or up 15 per cent after adjusting for inflation).
An article in today’s Globe and Mail paints an optimistic picture of Canada’s reading public. The extraordinary success of stores like Chapters in recent years reflects, not necessarily an increased interest in literature, but perhaps a movement toward the recognition that book culture has some value, even if right now it’s only value as a commodity.
Baby steps, folks, baby steps.