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Frequently Asked Questions

How and why did get started?

Canadians are passionate about our culture, from music to food to literature and film (and much else!). To help boost the ability of readers everywhere to discover Canada’s authors and publishers, we created, a massive online collection of Canadian-authored titles that’s been up and running for more than a decade. is fuelled by Canadian publishers of all sizes, across the country, and it’s energized by a vibrant blog and avid community of supporters. It may be the most fully realized collaborative website in the world celebrating one nation's books and authors. If we're wrong, let us know! (But we're probably right.)


How do I get started on

Check out our Welcome page! If you have any questions, contact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
We recommend joining us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram too for the latest and greatest on

How does make it easier for me to “find my next great Canadian read?”

Great question. The answer is best broken down into bullet points:

  • is based on the largest ever collection of Canadian books ever assembled (more than 135,000 titles)—books from all types of author, publisher, and genre. So it’s got pretty great search functionality.
  • One of the most-used features is the ability to make and check out reading lists—lists of favourites, lists by theme, genre, or whim. There is a list (or many) to capture everyone’s fancy, and you’ll have fun making your own.
  • Our blog is updated throughout the week, all 52 weeks of the year, and features posts both from our editors and from wonderful guest authors.

I’m an author: how do I add my book to the site?

The title listings on are based on publisher-supplied data for each book. So the way to add, update, or otherwise revise any information for your books is to have your publisher(s) submit updated files with your changes to the national database that we use as the data source for our title lisings: BNC BiblioShare. There is no charge to have books listed on the site and new data submitted by publishers is imported automatically.

We exclusively import Canadian-authored titles from BiblioShare for our title listings and are pleased to list all types of books, including eBooks, from all publishers, including self-published titles.

If you don't have an ONIX data file for your book as yet, then you may want to make use of a Webform that is available to both authors and publishers and can be used to input data into the system. You can find out more about this for-fee service here. Please see BookNet's Webform manual for easy-to-follow instructions and additional background.

Any data that you add to the system via the Webform will automatically be imported to 49th Shelf. Please take care to add the country code for Canada ("CA") in the Contributor section in the form as this is our main filter for our imports from the database—that is, we exclusively import Canadian-authored titles.

Why can’t I buy books on

As much as we hope spurs sales of Canadian books, we prefer to support bookstores across the country, not compete with them. The way the site works, users can choose where they’d like to buy their books from a handy list of choices that link directly to retailers’ sites on every book page.

These include:

  • Amazon
  • Indigo
  • Publishers’ websites in those cases where the publisher sells directly from their site
  • A national look-up service of local bookstores that can be used to find the closest and/or most convenient location for a purchase

Our intention is to make it as easy and direct as possible for readers to get their hands on great Canadian books. Look for the convenient retail links included within every book listing page throughout the site:

Who or what decides what books get featured on the homepage and other prominent places?

Our editors—though we get our ideas from a wide list of influences, including members’ and contributors’ reading lists and feedback.

Where do I go to control my privacy settings?

You can go to your account page, which you can find either in the bottom panel or in the top right-hand corner of your screen once you’ve signed in.

How is funded? is a project of the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) and with funding support from the Canada Book Fund at the Department of Canadian Heritage and Ontario Creates.