November is here and with it comes colder weather, a turning back of the clocks, and holiday shoppers – hopefully headed in droves to indie bookstores! This month, we're sharing an update on our holiday campaign, recaps of our first year of Lectures & Labs, research on the bookselling landscape, and more.

It’s a busy time of year, so let’s get to it!

CIBA’s Go Beyond the Gift Guide campaign is officially live! We launched the campaign – which celebrates indie bookseller expertise – last week and we’ve been thrilled with the response so far.

Members can access our comprehensive campaign toolkit full of graphics, inspiration, and social media messaging in the Member Portal. Here are some examples of how you could promote the campaign:

  • Blue Heron Books is using the campaign web banner to promote their recommendation services and holiday shopping lists
  • The Yellowknife Book Cellar is using #BeyondTheGiftGuide to make daily book and sideline suggestions for their community
  • Freehand Books is highlighting titles from their list using campaign prompts and personality traits

We've also begun posting our shareable campaign content! Here is what you can expect from CIBA over the next two months:

Ask the Booksellers
Every Wednesday, we’ll post
gift suggestions from indie booksellers across the country based on the weekly prompt. Tomorrow, we'll share suggestions for "the person who dreams of going off the grid.” What would you recommend? Share your picks using #BeyondTheGiftGuide!

The Bookseller is In
We’re hosting three Instagram story takeovers by indie booksellers. Last week, Melissa Bourdon-King from Once Upon a Bookstore delighted our followers with her personalized gift recommendations. Check those out in our IG story highlights here.

Campaign Love
We’ll continue to share personality quizzes, promote bookseller sidelines, and more to help boost our message. Are you using campaign resources online or in-store? Creating displays or handing out stickers? We want to hear from you! Tag @CIBAbooks on social or email Kayla so we can promote.

We’ll share another campaign update in December.

Not a member yet but want to access to our treasure trove of campaign materials? Join us today!

“It was my Narnia moment that pushed me to boldly open a bookstore in less than two months. I found myself constantly chanting Aslan’s most memorable quote: Courage, dear heart!”

The Book Wardrobe in Mississauga, ON is beloved by customers and the community alike. We spoke with Carmela Vedar about her journey to bookstore ownership, how she approaches her business, and what she loves about being an indie bookseller.

Read the article here.

Over the course of 2021, CIBA’s Lectures & Labs series has provided members with learning and networking opportunities that are valuable in both the short- and long- terms. 

In year one, our Lectures covered the following topics and more:

  • Responding to COVID-19
  • Online retailing
  • Hosting virtual events
  • Consumer analytics
  • Effective social media marketing
  • Gifts and sidelines
  • Themed curation and promotion of diverse voices 
  • Ordering and re-ordering

We also ran a handful of Labs in our first year. Labs are small-group sessions during which booksellers and participants take an active role in asking questions and sharing expertise. The topics we covered included:

  • Tourism
  • Children’s bookselling
  • Pitching the local media

Speakers have included booksellers, publishers, distributors, authors, and NGOs representing regions from across Canada. More than 550 people attended our events from January through October. If you’re a member and couldn't make one of our sessions, recordings and resources can be accessed in the Member Portal here.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for these presentations and to all those who contributed their skills and expertise to the Lectures & Labs series this year!

We are currently planning sessions for early 2022, and we’d love to hear from members. Help us improve our service delivery by answering our quick, two-question survey found here.

Fall is for readers. Cold weather encourages us to settle in for some cozy page turning, book clubs are back in full swing, and we spend the season adding books to our “to read” list as a result of fall book awards.

Are you caught up on big wins and upcoming announcements? Sign into our member blog for a recap on Canada’s fall book awards season.

Not a member yet? Join CIBA today and access original content on our member blog as a benefit of your membership.

Mark your calendars: Canadian Independent Bookstore Day is taking place on Saturday, April 30, 2022!

We can’t wait to celebrate indie bookstores once again with readers, writers, publishers, and partners from coast to coast to coast. And with bookstores, of course! The CIBA team is currently working on activities that will help encourage sales on the big day and raise the profile of indies across the country.

We look forward to sharing more info with you in the coming months. If you have any questions in the meantime, please email Kayla.

BookNet Canada continues to provide important research and content on the Canadian book industry. For example, you can:

FYI: Canadian booksellers who are interested in being featured as part of BookNet’s “5 questions with” series should get in touch today!


We love seeing Canadian independent bookstores highlighted in the news. Here are some key articles from the second half of 2021:

“15 amazing indie bookstores across Canada” (ChatelaineNovember 2021)

“CIBA’s holiday marketing campaign looks beyond gift guides” (Quill & Quire, November 2021, subscription required)

“Beloved children's bookstore Woozles moves out of iconic yellow building in Halifax” (CBC, October 2021)

“Reading the Room: McNally Robinson celebrates 40 years” (Winnipeg Free Press, October 2021, free account required)

“Publishing in Canada 2021: Booksellers and Publishers Evolve and Adapt” (Publishers Weekly, September 2021)

“Election pledges to help Canada’s book industry welcome news after pandemic uncertainty in the sector” (The Globe and Mail, September 2021, subscription required)

“All hail the return of the bookstore” (The Globe and Mail, August 2021)


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