Season’s greetings!

The end of 2023 is near but indie booksellers are still hard at work. Thank you to the dedicated bookstore owners and staff who are working long hours to serve their customers and communities during the holiday season.

This month, we share some highlights from the past year, an update on, resources, and more.

Please enjoy.

It was an exciting year for the independent bookselling community! Members from across the country marked major anniversaries including Black Bond Books (60th), Allison the Bookman (50th), and Woozles (45th). These milestones are a testament to indie strength and impact.  

Another highlight of the year was growth in our community of prospective booksellers. Some provisional members took the leap and opened stores in 2023 including Raven’s End Books in Manitoba, Tap Town Books in Alberta, and Stinging Nettle Books in British Columbia, to name a few. Congratulations to everyone who opened a new indie this year!

To catch up on CIBA’s work, we encourage you to visit the Member Portal where you’ll find event recordings, business resources, supplier relations updates, and more. You can also find a recap of our accomplishments in our annual report.

We look forward to launching new projects in 2024, including the formal launch of and the release of our Guide to Bookselling in Canada. And stay tuned for a new member survey in January!

We are grateful to our growing community of members and industry partners. Your continued investment in CIBA makes this work possible. Thank you.

We are very excited to share that is now live!

The initial version of the website has two core components: an indie bookstore map/directory and book search function powered by Bookmanager. This soft launch phase will allow us time to identify any bugs and make corrections. Additional features will be added in the coming weeks including weekly indie market bestseller lists provided by BookNet Canada and links for audiobook purchases provided by

Bookseller Members: If you would like to submit a unique store description to accompany your store record, please contact Laura Carter.

An official launch will take place in early 2024, which will include outreach to industry stakeholders to ensure publishers, authors, and media are using The official launch will also accompany a changeover of our reader-facing social media channels. 

The soft launch this fall is complemented by a comprehensive advertising campaign focused on driving traffic to the website and to indies. The campaign is being led by Metric Marketing, whose significant market research into indie customers has informed both the creative concepts and placement strategy. Advertisements are being placed on a wide range of platforms, including Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify (click here for a preview of an audio ad!), StackAdapt, TikTok, and Reddit.

The campaign aims to engage audiences with a hint of humour in order to create a memorable connection and encourage action. The visuals capture special little things that book lovers appreciate and the headlines evoke a sense of understanding between people in the book loving community.

If you have any questions about or the advertising campaign, please get in touch!

CIBA Coffee Break: Connect with the CIBA Board and ED
Thursday, January 11
10am PT, 11am MT, 12pm CT, 1pm ET, 2pm AT, 2:30pm Newfoundland

Grab a coffee, pull up a chair, and join us for a chat! Please bring your questions, share concerns or experiences, and let us know where you need support. This session is an opportunity for Bookseller Members to talk directly with the CIBA board and team.

CIBA Discussion Group: Shopify Best Practices
Tuesday, January 16
10am PT, 11am MT, 12pm CT, 1pm ET, 2pm AT, 2:30pm Newfoundland

You asked, we listened! At CIBA’s AGM, members who use Shopify as their point-of-sale system expressed interest in discussing their experiences. For our first group meeting, we invite current and prospective Shopify users to join us to share best practices for using the platform in your store. This is an informal session—please bring your questions and discussion points.

Publisher Picks: Spring Edition
Tuesday, January 23 – Multinational Publishers
Tuesday, February 20 Independent Publishers
3:30pm PT, 4:30pm MT, 5:30pm CT, 6:30pm ET, 7:30pm AT, 8:00pm Newfoundland

CIBA's Publisher Picks series is back with its spring edition! We'll bring you to the heart of publisher marketing discussions to discover the season's best bets—the books you might not know you need but will be glad you have on hand. Tune in live or view the recording within two weeks for a chance to win publisher prizes.

To help members plan their marketing activities, CIBA has once again created a living calendar that features key dates like public holidays, themed days/weeks/months, awards announcements, and more. This resource is accessible as a list-by-date and as a traditional calendar.

Members can access the calendar here. We will continue to add to the calendar as information becomes available. 

If you have any questions or wish to add a key date that may be of interest to all members, please email Kayla Calder

Three of the most important things to consider when opening a bookstore: location, location, and location. Signing the lease on your retail space will be a pivotal moment and you’ll want to do your homework in advance.

So, what do you need to know before you start searching? CIBA asked some savvy members to share their insights on the matter.

“Be very realistic about your sales projections. Pay close attention to your risk tolerance and determine if you have the capacity to fulfill the obligations in your lease under the worst possible circumstances. Rent the best location you can afford and if you can’t find a good one right away, be willing to wait. – Hilary Atleo, Iron Dog Books 

Visit the Member Blog for insights from Hilary as well as Scott Warris at Analog Books.

Owl’s Nest Books in Calgary, AB has a long and storied history. It is known for its community involvement, excellent browsability, and dedicated staff. We spoke with co-owner Ryan Smith about the store’s legacy, favourite recent titles, and more.

“We love having the opportunity to connect people with books, especially books that are by new, upcoming, or local authors. As a small independent, we seldom are obligated to display or promote specific books the way that larger retailers are. This gives us the chance to provide truly personal recommendations based on what we have enjoyed reading recently.” 

Read the article here.

Applications are now open for booksellers to join the Irish Book Trade Conference 2024 with the support of RISE Bookselling! The event will take place February 26-27, 2024, at the Radisson Blu Hotel Dublin Airport, Dublin, Ireland.  

The selected booksellers will be granted attendance to the two-day event, including a bookshop tour of Dublin, a trade show, and, a one-day conference featuring practical bookselling sessions, guest talks, and networking opportunities. Travel and accommodation costs for the duration of the programme will also be covered.

More information and the application forms can be found on the RISE Bookselling website. The deadline to apply is January 7, 2024 at 11:59pm ET.

We’re ramping up our plans for Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, which will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2024. 

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

  • Canadian artist Cornelia Li has created custom artwork for the campaign that will be used across our promotional materials and assets
  • Our Contest for Book Lovers will once again reward lucky book buyers with generous gift cards to their favourite indies
  • We're working with publishers and industry partners to create dedicated giveaways and exclusive books and products for the big day

We’ll provide more details in January and promotional materials will be available to members in March. In the meantime, please save the date!

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

Please note that the CIBA virtual office will be closed beginning on Friday, December 22 and back to business-as-usual on Tuesday, January 2. We look forward to our return in the New Year!

We hope the holiday season brings you all joy, rest, and plenty of reading time.


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