After a year like no other, BookNet Canada is spearheading the 2020 State of Bookselling survey to assess the bookselling landscape across the country. The survey has been refined from its 2018 version with input from the Canadian Independent Booksellers Association and graphics to help Bookmanager clients locate their data.
“We figured, How can we build on what they’ve done previously, but make it better?” says Doug Minett, executive director of CIBA. “We tried to make it easier to complete.” As an incentive, booksellers who complete the survey will have early access to the full report from BookNet when it is published this fall.
Minett suggests setting aside half an hour to complete the survey, which bookstores of all sizes are invited to participate in. “We have multimillion-dollar bookstores, but we have lots of stores that sell less than $200,000 a year,” he says. “All of them are important, all of them can do better, and the more people that share carefully considered data, the better.”
Developing a detailed picture of the bookselling landscape helps organizations such as CIBA advocate for the industry. CIBA, in partnership with Quebec’s Les libraires, used data from BookNet’s 2018 bookselling survey, along with other sources, to successfully lobby for the $32.1 million in funding for booksellers that appeared in the federal budget.
“Both BookNet and CIBA need to be evidence-based organizations,” Minett says. “You can’t just say you have an opinion because you feel like it. If you actually look at the document that we submitted to [the Department of Canadian] Heritage, it was based on data. This wasn’t just some whiny booksellers saying, help us out, help us out. The more we know, the more we can represent booksellers when we are working with government.”
BookNet Canada’s The State of Bookselling survey is now open.