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. The two largest Canadian-owned book publishers represented 34% of the total Canadian-owned publishing market in 2012.4

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.)

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 assistance

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


  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. BookNet Canada, The Canadian Book Market 2012, p. 14. Based on volume sold.
  5. Statistics Canada, “Book Publishers 2012,” Table 1.
  6. ibid, Table 1 and Highlights.
  7. ibid, Table 1.
  8. 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 do the Statistics Canada data, therefore direct comparisons with the Statistics Canada data cannot be drawn.
  9. ibid.
  10. ibid.
  11. ibid.
  12. BookNet Canada, The Canadian Book Market 2013, pp. 10, 14-15. Currently, BookNet tracks only a small portion of sales from online retailers in Canada and does not track e-book sales in Canada.
  13. ibid, pp. 12-13.
  14. BookNet Canada, The Canadian Book Consumer 2012, Book-Buying Behaviour in Canada, pp. 12, 15, 20.
  15. BookNet Canada, The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2013, March 2014, pp. 3-4.
  16. OMDC.
  17. ibid.
  18. PwC, PwC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2014-2018: Book Publishing, June 2014, pp. 2,3.
  19. ibid, pp. 9, 10.
  20. BookNet Canada, The Canadian Book Consumer 2012, Book-Buying Behaviour in Canada, pp. 30
  21. BookNet Canada, The State of Digital Publishing in Canada 2013, p. 22.
  22. ibid, p. 33.
  23. Department of Canadian Heritage, Investing in the Future of Canadian Books Discussion Paper, July 2010.
  24. 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.
  25. "Torstar sells Harlequin to News Corp. for $455M," The Toronto Star, May 2, 2014.
  26. Stuart Woods, “Universities push back against Access Copyright lawsuit,” Quill and Quire, April 18, 2013.
  27. ibid.
  28. 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.
  29. Francine Kopu, "One-time Goliath turns the page," The Toronto Star, May 10 2014; Marcus Gee, "Are bookstores dead, or turning a new page?" The Globe and Mail, April 4, 2014.
  30. 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.