During the month of December, Canadians spend more than any other month of the year, according to Statistics Canada. This time last year, retail spending reached $35.1 billion dollars. And it is logical that a high percentage of those dollars are spent on gifts - everything from ties to train sets.
"There's no doubt that selecting the right gift for a friend or member of the family - one that is thoughtful, and will be truly enjoyed - can be tricky, even downright difficult at times," says Colleen O'Neill, executive director of the Canadian Publishers' Council (CPC). "The beauty of books is there is a size and style for everyone on your list, and it shows there was thought and consideration put into the decision."
Books have long been a popular gift item, increasingly so in recent years. From 2003-2007, 36 per cent more Canadians reported purchasing at least one book during the holiday season - and there was a 16 per cent increase in the number of shoppers who purchased three or more books at a time.
"Not only are more Canadians buying books than ever before, we're also buying more books at each purchase," says Ms. O'Neill. "Research shows nearly a quarter of us are purchasing two to five books each month, which translates to between 14 million and 36 million books - and at least as many opportunities to learn, laugh, and be entertained."
Research conducted by SECOR Consulting on behalf of CPC also shows women are the largest purchasing group, and fiction is the most popular genre; science fiction, history, children's books, and home and garden round out the top five. Most book purchases are made at national book chains, followed by non-chain bookstores and general retailers.
Whatever the reason for purchasing a book, half of all Canadians agree books offer better value than other forms of entertainment. And, while a third of people report buying books as gifts, books for personal use remain the most popular reason for purchase.
Just as the holiday season evokes special memories of traditions and time spent with family, books carry similar kinds of memories - from curling up with a parent or grandparent to read a favourite bedtime story, to pouring over an atlas and discovering a new part of the world we didn't know existed. Giving the gift of a book will help create these memories for years to come.
Visit www.pubcouncil.ca for more information on the Canadian Publishers' Council.
- News Canada