Industry Notes: BookNet Canada’s New Libraries Data Tool Goes Live

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The English-language Canadian market’s research agency brings out of beta its new library input tool and asks library systems to subscribe.

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By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘The Facilitation of Better Communication’
Touting it as Canada’s first system for “the aggregation and analysis of data from public libraries across the country,” BookNet has today (February 12) announced LibraryData, a new program “being rolled out to library wholesalers and public library systems that have been contributing their collection and circulation data during a beta period over the past few months.”

Participating libraries are in Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Hanover, Orangeville, Vancouver, and Saskatoon.

LibraryData is integrated with yet another double-word BookNet service, SalesData, which is made available to publishers, distributors, wholesalers, sales agents, retailers, librarians, library wholesalers, and literary agents.

SalesData, a service for Canada’s English-language trade market, now is enriched with LibraryData’s display of such features as “popular books” lists that follow trends in genre, regions, and authors.

Earlier this week, BookNet provided some insights from its consumer survey on audiobooks in the Canadian market. With the advent of LibraryData, the organization now will have libraries delivering weekly reports.

According to media messaging from BookNet offices in Toronto, “LibraryData will now function as the ultimate source of nationwide data on loans, holds, renewals, on-order, and collection holdings data, providing unprecedented insight into the public library market in Canada.”

In a prepared statement on today’s news, Jefferson Gilbert, executive director of the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) / Conseil des Bibliothèques Urbaines du Canada (CBUC), is quoted, saying, “Libraries have lagged behind book retailers when it comes to sharing and analyzing this level of data.

“By consolidating our data, we can speak for the reading habits of all Canadian library users and make sure our work is understood and appropriately valued by associations, publishers, the government, and other industry participants.

“The facilitation of better communication stands to strengthen our role as advocates and stalwarts of the Canadian book industry.”

As LibraryData is activated, the system is available only to libraries that contribute their data and pay a fee.

Other elements of the book industry including publishers and retailers, are to be invited to access the system later this year.

In addition to supporting libraries in their work, LibraryData will allow suppliers and publishers to investigate trends, identify collection opportunities, and access a full view of a title’s performance in the Canadian market.

You can see some of the data being generated from engaged libraries here.

Top Library Loans in Canada: First Half 2019

In the first half of 2019, for example, the Canadian libraries feeding data to the new tool revealed that the most-loaned library books were:

  1. The Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
  2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  3. The Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renée Russell
  4. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  5. Educated by Tara Westover

In a note, the agency explains that libraries are reporting circulation based on ISBNs. Because some libraries catalogue series in clusters of ISBNs, whole series will be recorded as individual titles.

Perceptive industry pros, of course, will have realized that the most-loaned list above shows the Top Five to be books from outside Canada (and a reflection of the frustration that many in the Canadian market feel about the dominance of the “multinational” publishers established in the country. The “CA” after each of these titles is BookNet’s notation that these are books from Canadian publishers.

  • Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny 🇨🇦
  • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan 🇨🇦
  • Women Talking by Miriam Toews 🇨🇦
  • Careless Love by Peter Robinson 🇨🇦
  • 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson 🇨🇦

By paying a fee, libraries that contribute their own data to the system will have from BookNet:

  • LibraryData, including reports on books with the highest loans, holds, or on-order quantities, over-time performance of specific titles, collection gaps, and more
  • SalesData, the national sales tracking tool for print books in the Canadian trade market
  • Subscriber-only research, our range of studies cover the sales impact of literary awards, consumer and patron behavior, monthly sales reports, and more
  • Bibliographic data resources, access data and images for more than 3 million records, including ONIX, MARC records, samples, interior and author images, position files, and more
  • CataList, Free access for library staff to view publishers’ forthcoming title lists, and to recommend titles for the Loan Stars program

Interested industry players can learn more about the new LibraryData system in its help manual here.


More from Publishing Perspectives on BookNet Canada and its research is here. More from us on the Canadian market is here and more on libraries is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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