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Canadians buy and borrow more than 2.7-million books in one week

A woman browses in a bookstore, something that happens a lot in one week in Canada.

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Canadians bought or borrowed more than 2.7-million books last week.

A book count organized by the National Campaign for Reading, covering about three-quarters of the book market and library systems serving 11.2 million Canadians, came up with a total of 2,714,946 for the week of Jan. 10 to 16.

The book sales of 1,110,568 include books in both French and English sold by the Chapters-Indigo chain, and 260 independent bookstores. Compiled from BookNet Canada, BookManager and la Société de gestion de la Banque de titres de langue française, they are estimated to represent 80 per cent of English-language sales and 40 per cent of French-language sales in Canada but do not include digital downloads.

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The library circulation represents the numbers from 22 urban library systems from Halifax to Victoria, including Ottawa, Gatineau, Toronto, Brampton, Thunder Bay, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

That number - 1,604,378 - does include e-books, which made up about 2 per cent of the total, but only covers libraries serving about a third of the Canadian population. Organizers do not assume the real number is simply three times the 1.6 million, but rather hope to get more libraries, including ones in rural areas, signed on next year to see how much higher that drives the count.

The count is a Canadian first, organized by the campaign to draw attention to reading on the eve of its second Reading Summit, which begins in Montreal Thursday. Organizers figure more Canadians picked out a book last week than watched hockey on TV.

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About the Author

Kate Taylor is lead film critic at the Globe and Mail and a columnist in the arts section. More

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