Canada has experienced two straight years of lockdowns, due to COVID. Sometimes things start to open for a few months and then a new wave starts to infect people and businesses start to close again. This has been very evident in the bookselling industry. This entire situation has prompted many Canadians to start buying digital books and audiobooks. This has been a boon to Kobo, a Toronto based company. Their e-readers are easily accessible in Chapters Indigo bookstores and also online.
Kobo recently issued a new reading report and it included some interesting statistics.”Canadians read voraciously through the COVID pandemic with the average time spent reading increasing by 33.7% since 2019. When it comes to the kind of books Canadians are reading, two strong themes emerge: reading to escape, which is understandable in the circumstances; and reading to reflect and educate themselves.”
Canadians spent on average 21% more time reading in 2021 versus the global average – the equivalent of more than 3,300 years reading! Summer months (July & August) continue to be primetime for reading, with Canadians spending over 1.8 billion minutes reading in the peak of summer.
Audiobooks are widely considered one of the fastest growing segments of the publishing industry. In fact, over 50% of audiobook listeners sampled in a Kobo research study reported to listening to more audiobooks over the past year, namely due to COVID and discovery of the convenience of the audiobook format. That same study found that booklovers most often listen to audiobooks when completing household chores (54%), driving (44%), or going for walks or runs outside (41%).
More and more Canadians are exploring new formats for reading. According to a BookNet Canada study, approximately 1 in 10 people read every single day with an almost equal likelihood of reading print books (12%), eBooks (11%) or audiobooks (9%). The gap between these formats has progressively closed over the past few years as more and more Canadians are adopting digital reading habits.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.