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Canadians seeking out diverse reads, according to new BookNet study

If national bestseller lists are any indication, Canadians are demanding more diversity in the books they read. Now, a new study by BookNet Canada reports that 62 per cent of readers are actively seeking out books about “diverse topics or experiences or by diverse authors.”

In November 2018, BookNet conducted a survey to investigate Canadian readers’ interest in and the availability of diverse books defined as “about or from the point of view of Black, Indigenous and/or people of colour (BIPOC), LGBTQ+ people, people who are disabled or differently abled, religious minorities, and/or books by authors who identify as members of one or more of the listed groups.”

The online survey polled 500 English-speaking Canadian adults who read or listened to a book in the previous year, breaking down the results between those who self-identify as belonging to those underrepresented groups and those whose experiences are well represented in Canadian books. Some of the study’s highlights are:

  • 31 per cent of all respondents said they would read more if they could access more diverse books.
  • 61 per cent of underrepresented and 40 per cent of well-represented readers are “very interested” or “interested” in reading BIPOC authors.
  • 44 per cent of underrepresented and 35 per cent of well-represented readers want more books that represent the experiences of others.
  • 22 per cent of all respondents say it’s challenging to find diverse books, while another 40 per cent say it is not difficult.
  • 58 per cent of respondents either “agree” or “strongly agree” that readers would benefit overall from more diverse books.