Season’s greetings!

2021 is coming to a close, but indie booksellers are still hard at work. Thank you to the dedicated bookstore owners and staff who provide best-in-class service to their communities at this busy time of year.

This month, we celebrate our accomplishments in 2021, look ahead to exciting activities in 2022, and more.

Grab yourself a cup of hot chocolate and read on!

As we wrap up our first full year at CIBA, we would like to thank our members for helping us build this amazing community.

Even while facing an ongoing pandemic, booksellers came together this year to share expertise and support one another. It has been a great pleasure for CIBA to advance this important work while also developing partnerships with other book industry organizations and businesses who wish to champion and celebrate indies.

We’d like to congratulate the owners of Analog Books, Dandelion and Blackberry, Möbius Books, The Curious Cat Tea & Books, and the dozens of other new independent bookstores that opened across Canada in the past year or so. Thank you as well to members like Ann Shea at Mill Street Books who have purchased existing treasured stores and joined our community.

CIBA's highlights from this year included:

  • Working with Bookmanager to support the widespread adoption of the Shop Local API which has allowed publishers, authors, and literary award organizations – including the Scotiabank Giller Prize – to help connect readers with indies.

  • Collaborating with Booknet Canada on "The State of Independent Bookselling in Canada 2020" report, which helps book industry professionals better understand the unique challenges and exciting opportunities in independent bookselling.

  • Leading two major marketing campaigns that encouraged customers to shop at indies and helped raise the profile of bookstores and their meaningful contributions to Canadian culture.

  • Meeting regularly with the Association of Canadian Publishers as well as multinational publishers to tackle supply chain disruptions and find new ways of working together to ensure a healthy bookselling sector.

For more details about everything we accomplished this year, you can read our annual report. We continue to work with the Department of Canadian Heritage on several exciting initiatives announced in 2021 – stay tuned for details!

If you would like to chat about your experience as a CIBA member, we’d love to hear from you. Please reach out to Laura Carter.

Thanks to all the bookstores, publishers, not-for-profit organizations, and readers who helped boost the signal on this year's Go Beyond the Gift Guide campaign! We are thrilled with the response.

We will continue to post shareable campaign content until next Friday to capture last-minute shoppers and reinforce our evergreen message. Still to come:

Ask the Booksellers
Tomorrow, December 15, three indie booksellers share their recommendations for the person who really loves love. For our final edition next Wednesday, December 22, three indies will recommend books for the person who wants to save the world. Thank you to all the booksellers who participated in this initiative. Click here to revisit the series.

The Bookseller is In
We were delighted to have three booksellers take over our IG stories as part of the campaign – our thanks to Melissa Bourdon-King, Paul MacKay, and Janet Hoy for their enthusiasm and expertise. Over the next week, we’ll re-share their recommendations from
our story highlights.

Campaign Love
Until the end of the campaign, we will share Love Notes to indies, promote popular non-book items, and more. Keep tagging @CIBAbooks and using #BeyondTheGiftGuide so we can share your posts!

Not a member but want to access resources for our campaigns? Join us today!

Lectures & Labs: The Business of Returns 

An important element of running a profitable bookselling business is planning for, processing, and managing the operational and financial impact of returns. Panelists from three Canadian independent bookstores will discuss their returns processes in this session. Their conversation will be followed by a Q&A and member discussion about improving business practices. 

Who should attend: Bookselling staff responsible for returns

Tuesday, January 18
4pm PT, 5pm MT, 6pm CT, 7pm ET, 8pm AT, 8:30pm Newfoundland

Click here to register.

Publisher Picks – a new event series beginning in January!

Following the success of our Lectures & Labs sessions on curating store bookshelves, CIBA is delighted to announce a more in-depth series of events featuring publishers and their “best bets” for the spring season.

Over the course of four sessions, CIBA brings booksellers into publishers' boardroom conversations to discover the titles they might not (yet) know they need to stock but will be glad they have on hand. Attendees will learn both the why and the how from publishers – why they predict these books will be talked about and how booksellers can best put them in customers' hands. 

Who should attend: Bookstore owners, managers, and staff who want to learn about upcoming publisher highlights and how to sell them

Event dates:

Books for Adults (Multinational Publishers)
Tuesday, January 25

Books for Adults (Independent Publishers)

Thursday, January 27

Books for Young People (Multinational Publishers)
Tuesday, February 1

Books for Young People (Independent Publishers)

Thursday, February 3

All Publisher Picks events will take place at 3:30pm PT, 4:30pm MT, 5:30pm CT, 6:30pm ET, 7:30pm AT, 8pm Newfoundland

Click here to register.

“This business is unlike any other and that’s the most wonderful aspect of bookselling – being surrounded by books, discovering new authors, and interacting with intelligent, creative people… I’m very proud of what I’ve built, and I simply love being a bookseller.

Tidewater Books & Browsery in Sackville, NB has been a pillar of the community for more than 25 years. We spoke with owner Ellen Pickle about the history of her store, the role that indies play in our society, and what she loves about being a bookseller.

Read the article here.

We’re ramping up our plans for Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, which will take place on Saturday, April 30, 2022

Here are some updates on what we have in the works:

  • Canadian artist Kellen Hatanaka will create custom artwork for the 2022 campaign that will be used across our promotional materials and assets.

  • Our Contest for Book Lovers will reward three lucky book buyers with generous gift cards to their favourite indies. A book purchased on April 30 will equal one entry into the contest and books by Canadian writers and/or illustrators will be worth double the entries.

  • We are working with publishers and industry partners to create dedicated swag for bookstores to give out on the big day. There will also be product exclusives for sale on April 30 and beyond.

We’ll provide more details in January and promotional materials will be made available to members in March. Please reach out to Kayla if you have any questions in the meantime.

Not a member yet but want full access to the campaign? Join us today!

CIBA was sad to hear of the sudden passing of Christopher Kent Keen, a prominent figure in the Canadian book industry. Chris began working at the Albert Britnell Book Shop in Toronto as a teenager and eventually made bookselling his career. From Quill & Quire:

“Chris’s interest in books extended beyond the walls of Britnell’s to include the entire bookselling and book publishing industry. Among other things, he was heavily involved with the Canadian Booksellers Association. After leaving Britnell’s, Chris joined McClelland and Stewart as Director of Sales and Marketing where he worked with such authors as Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, and Alice Munro.”

To read more about Chris’s life and legacy, we encourage you to read the obituary in Quill & Quire’s newsletter.


Please note that the CIBA office will be closed beginning on Friday, December 24 and back to business-as-usual on Monday, January 3. We look forward to our return in the New Year!

We hope the holiday season brings you all joy, rest, and good books.


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