Greetings friends!

Polar vortex plus pandemic – welcome to February 2021! Let’s look on the bright side; could there be a better time to curl up with a good book?

Have you had a chance to attend any events in CIBA’s Lectures & Labs series yet? Take a look at the schedule below and don’t miss out. Also included below, updates on our recent advocacy efforts, a feature on books by Black authors, links to booksellers in the news, and interviews with Western Sky Books and Blue Heron Books. Whew!

This is your association, and we welcome feedback from members. Contact us to share what’s important to you and your business, and let us know how CIBA can help you moving forward.

Not a member yet? Join CIBA today and contribute to building a stronger and more vibrant independent bookselling community in Canada.

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CIBA's February Lectures and Labs are free and all are welcome to attend. Beyond February, events may be restricted by member type and non-members will be charged a fee. 

Bookselling in the Era of Virtual Events
Tuesday February 23
4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, 7pm EST, 8 pm AST, 8:30pm Newfoundland

Panelists: Bookmark (Halifax, NS), McNally Robinson (Winnipeg, MB & Saskatoon, SK), Wordfest (Calgary, AB)
This panel discussion will address some of the challenges posed by virtual events and provide ideas on how to make them more successful — your own or those of your partner festival or literary organization.

Replenishing your Stock
Thursday, March 4

4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, 7pm EST, 8 pm AST, 8:30pm Newfoundland

Presenter: Michael Neill, Mosaic Books (
Kelowna, BC)

Join us for a presentation that will give you the tools to help ensure you efficiently
handle orders and manage inventory to streamline operations and make your life easier.

Relax, Dammit!
Thursday, March 11

4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, 7pm EST, 8 pm AST, 8:30pm Newfoundland

Presenter: Timothy Caulfield, author of Relax, Dammit!

Join bestselling author Timothy Caulfield for an invigorating talk on thriving personally and professionally in the midst of the global pandemic.

Where are the Tourists?
Tuesday, March 23

4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, 7pm EST, 8 pm AST, 8:30pm Newfoundland

Moderator: Lori Cheverie, Bookmark (Charlottetown, PEI)

Join us for an informal peer-to-peer chat as we strategize for 2021 while waiting for the time we can welcome tourists back to our stores.

Details and Registration

Do you have an idea for a session or want to share your expertise?  Please contact CIBA’s Program Managers for Lectures and Labs, Laura Carter and Danielle LeBlanc to share ideas and program proposals.

Have you missed any of the events from our Lectures and Labs series? Never fear, the recordings are available on our member portal. Recordings will be accessible to all until February 28, but will be available to members only as of March.

Recap from last week’s event: COVID-19: Creative and Adaptable Solutions

We were joined by Munro Books (Victoria BC), Mabel’s Fables (Toronto, ON) and King’s Co-op Bookstore (Halifax, NS) for a discussion about both the unique and universal challenges presented by COVID-19. The panelists shared their own creative solutions for getting books in the hands of readers during pandemic restrictions, providing practical and creative ideas. Watch the discussion here.

“As soon as things kind of went south I decided I was just going to have fun with it…. I had someone, a local artist, draw up a new logo, a temporary logo for the store that is just me on my bike firing books all over the place…. People recognize me now from being online, and from this logo, so they’ll be like, ‘Hey – you’re that book guy” and I say, “You’re right – I am that book guy!”
-Paul MacKay, King’s Co-op Bookstore

And don't miss Adapting to the Online Retail Model: Tips from Bookmanager on Managing Your E-Commerce Website with Bookmanager's Trevor Neill. Available to view here. 


In the fall of 2020, CIBA and our bookselling colleagues in Québec began advocating on behalf of Canadian independent booksellers to help level the playing field as they navigate challenges to their businesses during the pandemic. On February 8, 2021, CIBA submitted a proposal to the Department of Finance Canada, urging the government to provide independent booksellers with access to the existing Canada Post book rate. This proposal was jointly submitted by CIBA, Les librairies indépendantes du Québec (LIQ), and L’Association des libraires du Québec (ALQ).

The proposal submitted for pre-budget consideration provides data to illustrate structural trade imbalances exacerbated by COVID-19 and recommends a straightforward and effective mechanism for rapid relief. Access to the existing Canada Post book rate – currently only available to libraries – will help level the online playing field and encourage Canadian readers to support their community booksellers.

Read the full statement in the CIBA member portal.

Not a CIBA member? Join now to access the member portal, where you’ll find exclusive content such as: advocacy news and updates, resources, member directories, professional and social forums, blog, discounts and specials, and more!


It’s Black History Month – a time when we shine a spotlight on the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians and their communities. This month is the perfect time to read, buy, sell, and support Black writers and their books, but as we commit to an anti-racist future, we must also commit to ensuring that books by BIPOC authors are promoted in independent bookstores across Canada year-round.

CIBA has curated a list of recent and soon-to-be-published titles we encourage you to add to your shelves!

Get to know more about these titles and their authors on our website.


While many retailers see an opportunity to engage their community through creative window displays, lockdowns across the country have made this marketing tool even more essential for booksellers. We checked in with Shelley MacBeth at Blue Heron Books (Uxbridge, ON) to ask about the innovative ways the store activates the shop windows.

“We change the windows very regularly – every week to ten days.  We keep a calendar and plot it out seasonally leaving room to insert other themes as they crop up…. Changing the window frequently is vital during lockdown times!”

Visit our blog to read more.

“(Prior to the pandemic) we had only done sporadic new book orders alongside our carefully curated new books from local, Indigenous, and POC authors. After lockdown, we had to learn the business of new books very quickly as our online orders for new books increased dramatically. We now see new and regular customers ordering new books from front and back list regularly. Seeing sales that are equal to pre-COVID times every morning is super reinforcing and exciting too.”

Visit our blog for an interview with Tamara Gorin of Western Sky Books (Port Coquitlam, BC), who shares how her store has adapted during the pandemic, how they fared over the holiday rush, and how they plan to move forward. 


Did you know? When you join CIBA, you’ll be able to access members-only content on our website, including CIBA’s Professional Forum. The Professional Forum is the place to share your great ideas and initiatives with your bookselling colleagues or pose questions and seek timely feedback from your peers. Subscribe to this feed and you’ll be notified when there’s a new post.

We’ve unlocked the Professional Forum until the end of February, so non-members have a chance to take a sneak peek. Visit now to check out examples of how the forum can be utilized. Earlier this month, Shelley Macbeth (Blue Heron Books) shared how the store engages other businesses in their community for I Read Canadian Day.

Not a CIBA member? Join now to access the member portal, where you’ll find exclusive content such as: news and updates, resources, member directories, professional and social forums, blog, discounts and specials, and more!


Social Media: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. CIBA’s social media feed is curated for Canadian readers. Follow us as we grow, developing shareable content for your channels, including profiles of new releases and fun campaigns to engage your customers.

Newsletter: Have a news item you’d like to share? Members are invited to send proposed content to Melissa McGrath for consideration. 


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