October is upon us! The leaves are changing, award finalists have been announced, and – with a bit of encouragement – Canadians are getting to work on their holiday shopping lists. This fall promises to be a busy and exciting season for booksellers and book lovers alike.

We have some important information for you this month including updates on our work, resources for the fall shopping season, industry insights, and more.

Don your favourite fall sweater and read on!

This holiday season we offer the following advice to shoppers: “Go beyond the gift guide.” If customers are looking for memorable, personal gifts for the people in their life, they should shop at indie bookstores. 

Our approach and campaign look are cheeky, playful, and very shareable. By encouraging shoppers to seek out bookseller recommendations, the campaign allows bookstores and supporters to promote books and items that are readily available while focusing on a positive, evergreen message. It is also designed to ensure that all indie bookstores will be celebrated, regardless of their bandwidth to plan marketing initiatives this fall.

CIBA members can now access our comprehensive campaign toolkit full of sample messaging, digital assets, and other resources for campaign promotion. The campaign will publicly launch on November 1.

Throughout the campaign, CIBA will create original content that indie booksellers and industry champions can share and promote online, including a weekly series called “Ask the Booksellers.” We will also host Instagram takeovers, share fun personality quizzes, and invite readers to share their own gift recommendations and the traits of their loved ones using #BeyondTheGiftGuide.

Members: log in now to access the campaign toolkit.

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

In summer 2021, CIBA distributed its first annual Supplier Relations Survey to bookseller members. Based on your feedback, we compiled a report on indie booksellers’ relationships with key suppliers to act as a “temperature check” for the industry and help us assess where advocacy might be needed. Members can access a summary of the survey results here.

The Supplier Relations Committee provided the summary report and individualized versions to suppliers, and then met with key decision makers to discuss improvements that could – and should – be made immediately to support booksellers through the fall/holiday season. Our bookseller members were sent an email about the outcomes of these meetings on October 8. Please contact us if you did not receive it and we would be happy to reissue the information. Based on the results of the survey, the Committee will create a framework for next steps and follow up meetings with suppliers will occur on a quarterly basis.

Thank you to all the bookseller members who completed the survey and used your voice to affect change. We encourage all members to contribute to the conversation in future surveys – we are stronger together!

Not a CIBA member and want to join the party? Come aboard!

Given the concerns about product shortages and projected delays in the book supply chain, we know you are all bracing for a complicated fall and holiday bookselling season. CIBA is here to support you wherever we can!

Throughout October, CIBA will promote a “shop early” message on our social media channels. To help you communicate this message to your customers, we encourage you to share CIBA’s posts or create your own using handy plug-and-play images and text templates we’ve created for you.

You can access the resources here.

We will weave this messaging into our campaign after November 1, but we’ll primarily focus on celebrating the expertise and unmatched customer service that indies provide.

LECTURES & LABS @ Lunch series: Cookbooks & comics and graphic novels 

Join expert peers as they suggest which books to stock to drive sales in a short 5-5-5 format: 5 essentials they love to handsell, 5 upcoming books with buzz, 5 minutes for questions.

This session will feature The Cookbook Co. Cooks on cookbooks and The Beguiling on comics and graphic novels

Thursday, October 21
9am PST, 10am MST, 11am CST, 12pm EST, 1pm AST, 1:30pm Newfoundland

Did you miss our recent events? Members can catch the recordings in the CIBA member portal now!

Not a member? Join CIBA now and access our library of event recordings and other handy member resources.

Lectures & Labs @ Lunch: Indigenous literatures

On October 7, Hilary Atleo of Iron Dog Books shared her knowledge and ideas to help bookstores build a toolkit for making decisions around stocking Indigenous literatures. Here are some of the key takeaways of her presentation: 

  • Make a point to tell your sales reps that you want to hear about Indigenous books.
  • Think about how you shelve Indigenous literatures. For non-fiction titles, consider including them in your Cultural Studies section or in a stand-alone section. For other Indigenous books, like fiction and children's books, integrate them in your regular sections to encourage book discovery.
  • Incentivize your staff to become familiar with key books by creating a reading library for staff so that they can effectively handsell these titles. Iron Dog does this each year with the Canada Reads selections.
  • Publishers: Canadian indies want to see more Indigenous books for readers ages 6 to 12!

Watch the event recording to hear about the 11 books Hilary recommends stocking in your store! 

Lectures & Labs @ Lunch: Mysteries and Queer Literature 

Designed to help you save time, this quick 30-minute session helped take the guesswork out of curating and stocking the mysteries and queer literature sections of your store. Thanks to Michael C. Bumsted of Whodunit Books and Jason Purcell of Glass Bookshop for leading the session. Watch the recording now to find out: 

  • which 5 books you should have available to handsell and which 5 recent or upcoming books are gathering buzz in each category
  • what Atlantic Canadian mystery novel has a not-so-great cover but tons of selling potential 
  • which title is a cornerstone of American Black queer literature
  • upcoming books with a variety of LGBTQ2S+ perspectives and experiences
  • why keeping staff and customer favourites in genre fiction is a good idea 

...and so much more!

"We want to be a valued source of education and knowledge about the cultural richness, historical contributions, and significance of Africa and African people to the world." 

Knowledge Bookstore in Brampton, ON is a community-based bookstore that has been in operation for more than 20 years. The store is said to be a “dream realized." Owners Carolette and Sean Liburd spoke with CIBA about their raison d'être, their approach to curation of both books and non-book items, and what they love about being indie booksellers.

Read the article here.

Bookmanager’s Shop Local API is the talk of the town and we’re excited to see more publishers, organizations, and authors jumping on board in support of indie bookstores. Shop Local lets you insert a fully customizable button or link on your website that connects visitors to independent bookstores nearby and lists their stock of your title. 

Here’s a shoutout to some of the creative ways we’ve seen Shop Local being used in the wild!

  • The Scotiabank Giller Prize has added the Shop Local button beneath every shortlisted and winning title going back to 1994!
  • Canadian publisher Kids Can Press used the Shop Local button in their eblast to teachers!
  • Children’s author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch used the Shop Local button to refer sales from her website!

Here are some ideas for how publishers, authors, media, and other organizations can use the Shop Local API:

  • Provide media with the unique ISBN link when you’re pitching for interviews or reviews
  • Use Shop Local for a pre-order campaign on an author’s website
    • If the book isn't out yet, the API will automatically prompt customers to pre-order from the indie closest to them
  • Spread the word to all your authors that they can include Shop Local on their website
    • You can find an easy how-to guide here
  • Include the Shop Local link in your consumer-facing newsletter

If your organization isn’t currently using Shop Local, we urge you to show your support of Canadian indie bookstores and add it now. If you have any questions, please contact Laura Carter, CIBA’s Project Director.


    CIBA members have access to a ton of original content on our website, including news and opportunities shared through CIBA’s Professional Forum. Members: make sure to subscribe so that you don't miss a post!

    Here are some recent highlights from the forum:

    • Tonight, October 19, six Canadian independent publishers – Annick Press, Biblioasis, Coach House Books, ECW Press, Groundwood Books, and House of Anansi Press – will host bookstore staff and librarians virtually at their Fall 2021 Indie Book Social to talk about new and upcoming titles.
    • The Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs has provided key information – including book suggestions – for booksellers who are interested in promoting Treaties Recognition Week (November 1-7, 2021).
    • Indie booksellers are invited to tune into the 2021 Writers' Trust Awards taking place on Wednesday, November 3. The digital ceremony will feature the winner reveals of six literary prizes including the new Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.
    • We shared the exciting news that our member Analog Books recently won the Best New Business of the Year in the 2021 Celebrate Downtown Lethbridge Awards. Congratulations to Scott, Penny, Willow, and the whole Analog team! 

    Access the details for each post on the CIBA Professional Forum.

    Not a member yet? Join CIBA today and access the member portal (including the Professional Forum) as a benefit of your membership.


      The State of Independent Bookselling in Canada 2020 report is available now!

      This report, a follow up to 2018’s What’s in Store, offers new insights into independent bookselling across Canada using data gathered from 55 indie bookstores — large, medium, and small — from across Canada. The information shared ranges from expenses and processes to marketing, revenue, shipping, the impact of pandemic, and more.

      Download your copy today.


      On September 21 we hosted CIBA’s first Annual General Meeting with voting members. In the days following, we released our 2020-21 Annual Report for all industry professionals to read.

      You can access the report here.

      We are very proud of everything we’ve accomplished in our first year. We look forward to sharing and celebrating even more achievements in 2022!


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