Reading Surge in Canada in 2020

By: Yasmin Ranade

December 29, 2020

It’s been a busy year for reading, according to Rakuten Kobo. In its ‘Year In Review,’ Rakuten Kobo revealed that its digital reading platform experienced an up-take in new and returning readers this year, especially at the peak of the pandemic when readers spent 20 per cent more time reading on average compared to the same time last year. Interestingly, late-night reading also increased as Canadians spent 425 per cent more time reading at 1:00 a.m. than they did in 2019.

Canadian Reading Highlights

Canadian Kobo readers spent the equivalent of 6,932 years reading in 2020, 570 more years than 2019. Seasonally, Canadian Kobo readers spent the most time reading March through May, and reading was up 25 per cent year over year in May. May 3, in the heart of the pandemic’s first wave, was the most popular reading day of the year, and Sunday was the most popular day of the week.

Here are some Kobo reading facts by city:

  • Vancouverites increased their reading the most, up 53 per cent overall; while Torontonians read 49 per cent more year over year.
  • Vancouver Kobo readers uniquely read the most during the morning hours, with the highest spike at 9:00 a.m.
  • Torontonians read most at 10:00 p.m.; and readers were also night owls in Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg, spending the most time at 1:00 a.m.

2020 best-selling Kobo eBooks in Canada include:

  • All the Devils Are Here(St. Martin’s Publishing Group) of the bestselling mystery series featuring main character Chief Inspector Armand Gamache by Louise Penny, was the most read book by a Canadian author
  • Where the Crawdads Sing(Penguin Publishing Group) by Delia Owens was the most read fiction book. Notably, it was also the most sold book in 2019
  • Too Much and Never Enough(Simon & Schuster) by Mary L. Trump was the most read nonfiction book
  • In Five Years(Atria Books) by Rebecca Serle was the most read romance book
  • Little Fires Everywhere(Penguin Publishing Group) by Celeste Ng, which was adapted into a miniseries that launched in March 2020
  • The much discussed American Dirt(Flatiron Books) by Jeanine Cummins

Romance is the category dominating the top 5 most read Kobo eBooks in Canada:

  1. Blessing in Disguise(Random House Publishing Group) by Danielle Steel
  2. Under the Cowboy’s Protection(Harlequin) from The Lawmen of McCall Canyon series by Delores Fossen
  3. Avec toi… peut-être(Addictives – Luv) by Sarina Cassint
  4. The Missing Corps(St. Martin’s Publishing Group) from the Brittany Mystery Series by Jean-Luc Bannalec
  5. Breathless in Love: The Maverick Billionaires(Maverick Oak Press LLC) from Bella Andrea and Jennifer Skully

Canadian Kobo readers were notably interested in books about identity, race and racism, with the following titles among the bestsellers:

2020 most-read series by Canadian Kobo readers:

The top 5 Kobo audiobooks “most listened to” by Canadians in 2020:

  1. The Warded Man(Recorded Books, Inc.) by Peter V. Brett’s debut fantasy novel
  2. Long Road to Mercy(Hachette Audio) by David Baldacci
  3. Knife of Dreams(Macmillan Audio) from The Wheel of Timeseries by Robert Jordan
  4. Crooked River(Hachette Audio) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  5. Of Blood and Bone(Brilliance Audio), from Chronicles of The One series by Nora Roberts

We’re giving away a Kobo Nia 6″ eReader and Sleep Cover.  Contest ends midnight today, Dec. 29   Last chance to enter contest!




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