Book publishing in Canada is a $1.6 billion industry, with Ontario contributing two-thirds of total national operating revenue at $1.1 billion.1

The Ontario publishing ecosystem includes large, foreign-owned publishing firms as well as smaller, Canadian-owned publishers. The Canadian-owned sector in Ontario comprises mainly long-established private corporations, a majority having been in operation for more than 20 years.2 Most of Ontario’s book publishers are English-language, with the industry concentrated in Toronto. Ontario’s nine French-language publishers operate out of the Ottawa area, Greater Sudbury, and Toronto.3

Industry Size and Economic Impact

N.B: The following information on employment, revenue and the consumer market should be considered a snapshot of activity in the industry based on the best available information.4 Many of the figures for Canadian-owned publishers contained in this profile include a very small number of large corporations whose characteristics differ significantly from those of small- and medium-sized book publishers. All dollar figures are in CAD unless otherwise noted.

Employment and wages

Revenues and Related Figures

(N.B. Unless otherwise noted, the following figures include all book publishers in Canada, including both domestically-owned and foreign-owned.)

“Canadian Book Publishing Operating Revenues by Region, 2016”. A bar chart displaying a breakdown of Canadian book publishing revenues in 2016 by region – note, outside of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Albert and Nova Scotia, the remaining regions are grouped into one segment titled “Rest of Canada”. This breakdown depicts Canada’s total revenue of $1.65 billion. Ontario represents the largest segment ($1.102 billion in operating revenue), followed by Quebec ($434.5 million), British Columbia ($65.5 million), the Rest of Canada ($19.1 million), Alberta ($16.4 million), and Nova Scotia ($11.1 million).  “Ontario Book Publishers 2016”. This bar chart depicts the operating revenue; operating expenses; salaries, wages, and benefits; and operating profit of Ontario book publishers in 2016. Operating revenue represents the highest bar at $1.102 billion, outweighing operating expenses at $982 million. Salaries, wages, and benefits is the third highest at $257 million, with operating profit at $120 million.

Consumer market

Trends and Issues

This section provides information on growth rates, trends and burgeoning issues in the global and domestic book industry.

Growth rate and industry trends

“Ebook and Audiobook Sales Projections for 2018”
A chart depicting the per cent of Canadian publishers who are projecting on the one hand ebooks, and and on the other, audiobooks to: increase, stay the same or decrease. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Canadian publishers were anticipating an increase in audiobook sales year-over-year and 57% expected ebook sales to increase. About one third expected ebook sales to stay the same this year, and 23% anticipated that their audiobook sales would stay the same, while 10% expected a decrease in ebook sales and 3% a decrease in audiobook sales.

Global and domestic issues

Government support48

Industry Recognition

Ontario authors and publishers are frequently lauded for their outstanding work:

Profile current as of October 3, 2018


1 Statistics Canada, Table 21-10-0200-01, “Book publishers, summary statistics,” accessed August 13, 2018. Data is from 2016.

2 Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), An Economic Impact Study of the Ontario Book Publishing Industry, July 2013, p. 8.

3 Regroupement des éditeurs franco-canadiens (REFC),, accessed August 13, 2018. Members include some institutional publishers.

4 Ontario Creates relies on the most recent Statistics Canada data releases to compile this profile. There is a period of time needed for Statistics Canada to collect the data (e.g. receipt of income tax returns) and compile the data releases. Statistics Canada book industry statistics for the year 2018 are expected in early 2020.

5 Statistics Canada, “Book publishing industry,” The Daily, March 23, 2018.

6 Statistics Canada, “Provincial and Territorial Culture Indicators, 2010 to 2016,” The Daily, February 27, 2018. Note: Figures are from the product perspective.

7 Sue Carter, “2018 Salary Survey: The good, the bad, and the hopeful,” Quill & Quire, May 17, 2018.

8 Statistics Canada, Table 21-10-0200-01 Book publishers, summary statistics (Accessed: August 24, 2018).

9 Statistics Canada, Table 21-10-0202-01 Book publishers, detailed financial statistics by country of control (Accessed: September 13, 2018).

10 Statistics Canada. Table 21-10-0205-01 Book publishers, electronic sales (x 1,000,000) (Accessed September 17, 2018).

11 Statistics Canada, Table 21-10-0200-01 Book publishers, summary statistics (Accessed: August 24, 2018); Statistics Canada, Table 21-10-0202-01 Book publishers, detailed financial statistics by country of control (x 1,000,000). Country of control information is not available at the provincial level.

12 Statistics Canada, Table 12-10-0117-01 International trade of culture and sport products, by domain and sub-domain, and trading partner (x 1,000,000) (accessed: August 22, 2018).

13 Statistics Canada, Table 12-10-0116-01 International and inter-provincial trade of culture and sport products, by domain and sub-domain, provinces and territories (x 1,000,000) (accessed: August 22, 2018).

14 OMDC.

15 Statistics Canada, Table 21-10-0204-01 Book publishers, sales by nationality of authors (x 1,000,000) (Accessed October 3, 2018.)

16 BookNet Canada, The Canadian Book Market 2017, March 2018.

17 ibid.

18 ibid.

19 Statistics Canada, Table: 21-10-0042-01 – Book publishers, net value of book sales by customer category (accessed June 8, 2018); Statistics Canada, Statistics Canada. Table: 21-0206-01 – Book publishers, sales of books by language of printing (x 1,000,000) (accessed June 11, 2018); Statistics Canada. Table 21-0205-01 – Book publishers, electronic sales (x 1,000,000) (accessed June 11, 2018).

20 BookNet Canada. The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2017.

21 Statistics Canada, “Digital economy, July 2017 to June 2018,” The Daily, August 29, 2018.

22 Kira Harkonen, “What are Canadians up to in their free time?” BookNet Canada, April 26, 2018.

23 BookNet Canada, The Canadian Book Buyer 2015, October 2015.

24 BookNet Canada, Canadians Reading Canadians 2017, July 2017.

25 Scholastic Canada, Kids & Family Reading Report (Canadian Edition), May 2017, p. 44.

26 PwC, Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2018-2022, “Books,” June 2018.

27 ibid.

28 ibid.

29 BookNet Canada, Are You Still Listening? Audiobook Use in Canada 2016, November 2016, p.30.

30 Brian Bethune, “The founder and CEO of Audible reveals his ambitious plans for Canada,” Maclean’s, September 13, 2017.

31 Ryan Porter, “Walmart announces ebook, audiobook partnership with Canadian-based Rakuten Kobo,” Quill & Quire, August 22, 2018.

32 BookNet Canada, The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2017, May 2018.

33 eBOUND Canada, Canadian Ebooks in Public Libraries: A Gap Analysis Report on Trends and Issues in Ebook Collection Practices, January 2018.

34 Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP), Digital Trends and Initiatives in Education: The Changing Landscape for Canadian Content, March 2017.

35 Ontario Book Publishers Organization, Use of Canadian Books in Ontario Public and Catholic Intermediate and Secondary English Departments: Results of a Survey of Teachers of Grades 7 through 12, June 2017.

36 Press Release, “Canadian publishers welcome the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s continued protection of cultural industries,” ACP, October 2, 2018.

37 Press Release, “Parliament to undertake review of the Copyright Act,” Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, December 14, 2017.

38 PwC.

39 Press Release, “ACP statement on litigation between K-12 sector and Access Copyright,” Association of Canadian Publishers, July 23, 2018.

40 c.f. Alaina Leary, “Why The Publishing Industry Needs To Be More Inclusive Of Autistic And Disabled People,” Bustle, January 2018; Adam Pottle, “2018 Salary Survey: Adam Pottle on the lack of disabled writers and insufficient industry representation,” Quill & Quire, May 17, 2018; Léonicka Valcius, “2018 Salary Survey: Léonicka Valcius on reaching non-white audiences within the confines of an old publishing system,” Quill & Quire, May 17, 2018.

41 Press Release, “ACP launches Canadian Book Publishing Diversity Baseline Survey,” Association of Canadian Publishers, July 16, 2018.

42 Alexandra Alter, “Canceled Deals and Pulped Books, as the Publishing Industry Confronts Sexual Harassment,” The New York Times, March 2018.

43 Becky Robertson. “Kobo’s ebook pricing appeal win upholds status quo (for now),” Quill & Quire, September 12, 2016.

44 Dale Smith, “Kobo decision gives clarity to bureau’s reach,” Law Times, February 12, 2018.

45 Dory Cerny, “HarperCollins donates $150,000 in books as part of settlement with Competition Bureau,” Quill & Quire, January 10, 2018.

46 Department of Canadian Heritage, Investing in the Future of Canadian Books Discussion Paper, July 2010.

47 Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP), submission to the Department of Canadian Heritage on Review of the Revised Foreign Investment Policy in Book Publishing and Distribution, 2010.

48 The information included in this section is an overview of some of the government support to the book publishing sector. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of government support available.

49 Press Release, “Government of Canada Renews Investments in Canadian Books with an Emphasis on Digital Technologies,” Department of Canadian Heritage, September 22, 2009; Department of Finance Canada, The Road to Balance: Creating Jobs and Opportunities, February 11, 2014.

50 Press Release, “Minister Joly Launches the new Creative Export Strategy for Creative Industries, Including a New Export Funding Program,” Department of Canadian Heritage, June 26, 2018.