Kobo and Kindle have grown to become familiar brands in Canada but ebook sales now appear to plateauing, suggests a report by the industry organization BookNet Canada.
Based on surveys with 4,000 book-buying consumers, BookNet Canada pegged paperback sales in 2012 at about 58% of the market, while hardcovers accounted for 24% and ebook sales made up 1%.
BookNet Canada president and CEO Noah Genner said early sales data from this year shows ebook sales are steady and no longer growing.
Digital sales peaked at an estimated 17.6% of the book market in the first quarter of 2012 before sinking to 12.9% in the last quarter of the year.
BookNet Canada suggests book sales are strongly tied to gift giving.
Consumers who received an e-reader over the holidays likely drove ebook sales higher at the beginning of 2012. But ebooks are not commonly given as gifts, so paperbacks and hardcovers did better at the end of 2012 leading up to the holiday season.
The report found most consumers still preferred to buy their books in stores rather than shopping online. About 37 per cent said they made their purchases at book stores, 34% chose other retail stores (including Costco and Walmart), and 25% went online to buy books.