Book publishing in Canada is a $1.9 billion industry, with nearly two-thirds of revenues generated in Ontario.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. Nearly three-quarters of Ontario respondents to a recent survey have been in operation for more than 20 years, and half of responding companies could be considered small, reporting revenue for 2011 under $1 million;2 the largest book publishers operating in Canada are foreign-owned. Most of Ontario’s book publishers are English-language and based in Toronto. Ontario’s six French-language publishers are located in Ottawa, Sudbury, and Toronto.3

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

Industry Size and Economic Impact

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. 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.

Ontario Book Publishers 2008-2010, (Numbers on chart expressed in thousands of dollars),
2008 - Operating Revenue=$1,337,695, Operating Expenses=$1,184,916, Salaries, Wages and Benefits=$263,594, Operating Profit=$152,779;
2009 - Operating Revenue=$1,369,141, Operating Expenses=$1,215,696, Salaries, Wages and Benefits=$264,641, Operating Profit=$153,445;
2010 - Operating Revenue=$1,321,597, Operating Expenses=$1,174,603, Salaries, Wages and Benefits=$259,803, Operating Profit=$146,995;
Source: Statistics Canada, “Book Publishers 2010,” Catalogue no. 87F0004X, Table 1, April 2012.

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, 2010. Total Revenue = $2.05 Billion. (Numbers on chart expressed in thousands of dollars); British Columbia=$58,939, 2.9%; Alberta=$28,906, 1.4%; Rest of Canada=$24,314, 1.2%; Ontario=$1,321,597, 64.6%; Quebec=$612,144, 29.9%. Source: Statistics Canada, “Book Publishers 2010,”  Catalogue no. 87F0004X, Table 1, April 2012.

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

Global and domestic issues

Government support 25

Profile current as of April 6, 2016


1 Statistics Canada, “Book Publishers 2012,” Catalogue no. 87F0004X, Table 1, March 2014.

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

3 Lucie Hotte et al., La Chaîne du livre en Ontario français: un état des lieux, June 2010, Chaire de recherche sur les cultures et les littératures francophones du Canada, p. 83.

4 Statistics Canada, “Book Publishers 2012,” Table 1.

5 ibid, Table 1 and Highlights.

6 ibid, Table 1.

7 Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC). N.B. The findings from this report only include Canadian-owned book publishers based in Ontario, and do not include data for multinational firms as does the Statistics Canada data, therefore direct comparisons with the Statistics Canada data cannot be drawn.

8 ibid.

9 ibid.

10 BookNet Canada. State of Digital Publishing in 2014.

11 BookNet Canada. State of Digital Publishing in 2015.

12 BookNet Canada, State of Digital Publishing in 2015.

13 Publishers Weekly, “Canadian Publishing 2015: E-book Sales Level Off”

14 OMDC.

15 ibid.

16 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), PwC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2014-2018: Book Publishing, pp. 2, 3.

17 Ibid, pp. 9, 10.

18 BookNet Canada, The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2014, p. 11.

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

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

21 Stuart Woods, “Universities push back against Access Copyright lawsuit,” Quill and Quire, April 18, 2013.

22 ibid.

23 Access Copyright, “Canada’s writers and publishers take a stand against damaging interpretations of fair dealing by the education sector,” Press Release, April 18, 2013; Association of Canadian Publishers, 2013 Annual Report.

24 eBOUND Canada, EBook Collection Practices: A Report to the Canadian Publishing Community on Trends, and Issues in Canada’s Public, University, and College Libraries, September 2015.

25 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.

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