September is officially upon us! We hope the summer brought you joy and rest, if only in spare moments here and there.

This month, we’re pleased to mark the change of season with new partnerships, fall reading recommendations, a preview of our exciting fall marketing campaign, interesting interviews, and more.

Grab yourself a pumpkin spiced latte and read on!

Each month, CIBA is working hard to advance the interests of Canadian independent booksellers. Here is a brief update on CIBA’s recent activities:

CIBA partners with the Scotiabank Giller Prize

  • We are pleased to announce that CIBA has secured an important partnership with the Scotiabank Giller Prize (SGP). The Prize recognizes that independent booksellers are the early champions of the books and authors that end up on its lists, and the SGP team wishes to celebrate this and drive sales of SGP titles to indies. 

  • If you visit the Scotiabank Giller Prize website and click through any given year, you’ll notice that the Shop Local button is featured alongside every title. This button acts as an indie bookstore lookup and inventory check, so readers visiting the SGP website will be able to find and purchase books through their (your!) local bookstore.

  • Last week, the Scotiabank Giller Prize announced their 2021 longlist. CIBA has worked with the Prize to develop a series of printable promotional assets that you can use to create attractive displays in your store. When the shortlist and winner is announced, we’ll send our members updated resources to help them promote sales of the featured titles.

CIBA partners with the Governor General’s Book Awards (GG Book Awards)

  • CIBA has negotiated a partnership with the GG Book Awards. CIBA will be listed as an official partner of the GG’s on the prize’s website. We will create a page featuring prize finalists (announced on October 14) and the winners (November 17) on the CIBA website and will be referring sales to indie bookstores via the Shop Local button. We also hope to provide members with branded graphics that will help you create attractive store displays. Watch this space!

Goodbye to our Project Director, Nicola!

  • In November we’ll be saying farewell to CIBA’s Project Director, Nicola, as her family prepares to move back to her home country of Australia. We are pleased to announce that Laura Carter (currently one of the Lectures & Labs Program Managers) will be stepping into the role of Project Director on October 1. Laura brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience about the book industry and CIBA is excited to welcome her into this new role. She will work with Nicola through the month of October to ensure a smooth transition. 

CIBA is a membership-driven association. If there’s something we can do to help champion or support indie booksellers, please let us know!

We know how important the holiday season is for indie booksellers and there is certainly no shortage of ways to promote, whether it’s red and green decorations, snowy table displays, or “gift ideas for mom.” But we wanted to do things differently. Why? Because indie bookstores do things differently!

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

The campaign aims to increase traffic and sales to indie bookstores, but it also celebrates the expertise and unmatched customer service that indies provide. And by telling shoppers to celebrate the distinctive personality traits of the people they love, we’re promoting our message in a way that is cheeky, playful, and very shareable.

Here is what else we have planned:

  • We’ll provide a resource bank full of digital promotional assets including social media graphics and design files for posters and table talkers. Just like Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, we’ll have a mix of plug-and-play and customizable assets.

  • We will provide suggestions for how you can promote the campaign – even for those booksellers with limited time and resources – and a list of personality traits to inspire you.

  • We’ll work with booksellers from across the country to create unique, shareable content for our website and social channels.

  • We’ve put together an advertising plan to help boost the signal.

This year has brought many challenges for indie booksellers but rest assured that CIBA has your back. We’ve designed our holiday campaign so that all indie bookstores will be celebrated, regardless of their bandwidth to plan marketing initiatives.

Promotional materials will be made available to CIBA members in early October – keep an eye on your inbox for details! In the meantime, below is a sneak peek at our campaign design.

Not a CIBA member? Join the party now!


Look familiar? We based our design on vintage paperbacks, the trademarks of which – eye-catching colours and bold fonts – once again grace the covers of contemporary books. Our graphics subtly celebrate the longevity of indie bookstores and encourage shoppers to think outside the box!

“Bookstores are part of the ‘frontline team’ to support those with dyslexia. Bookstores can be intimidating for those who struggle to read but are often the first places parents and caregivers go to look for information when they have questions and concerns. Knowing what books are reliable and provide accurate information can be invaluable to a caregiver looking for help.”

In the lead up to International Dyslexia Awareness Month (October) CIBA spoke with Dyslexia Canada Executive Director, Christine Staley to learn more about dyslexia, the role independent booksellers play in serving dyslexic customers, and how bookstores can get involved in this year’s “Mark It Read” campaign.

Read the interview on our member blog. Not a CIBA member? Join now to access a range of benefits!

TONIGHT!! LECTURES & LABS: Increasing revenue through gifts and sidelines

Join Raincoast to learn the best ways to leverage gifts and sidelines to increase sales, and get their top product picks for the holiday season. Using examples from how stores across North America are selling non-book products, Raincoast will cover the best retail practices as well as provide an overview of trends. All registrants who join us for the session (or watch the recording and submit their info to CIBA) will be entered to win a credit of $200 retail for gift items of their choosing from Raincoast Books.

Tuesday, September 14
4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, 7pm EST, 8pm AST, 8:30pm Newfoundland

DISCUSSION FORUM (children's booksellers): Create new readers for life

The Discussion Forum is a semi-regular opportunity to connect with industry peers, share ideas and discuss the issues that affect your business. This session is aimed specifically at booksellers focusing exclusively or in part on books for young people. 

For this session, the discussion will focus on creating new readers for life. It will begin with a 10-minute informal presentation on recommending the right book at the right time, with expert tips for handselling children's books to increase sales. The presentation will be followed by a group discussion for questions and idea-sharing among peers.

Presenter: Eleanor LeFave, Mabel's Fables Bookstore (Toronto, ON)

Wednesday, September 15
12pm PST, 1pm MST, 2pm CST, 3pm EST, 4pm AST, 4:30pm Newfoundland

LECTURES & LABS @Lunch series: Crime Writing and Queer Literature

Designed to help you save time, this quick 30-minute session is meant to take the guesswork out of curating and stocking sections of your store as we explore a variety of themes and genres, in addition to diverse voices and cultural perspectives. 

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 Whodunit Mystery Bookstore on crime writing and Glass Bookshop on queer literature

Thursday, September 23
9am PST, 10am MST, 11am CST, 12pm EST, 1pm AST, 1:30pm Newfoundland

Next sessions: October 7 and 21 (themes to be announced shortly)

Did you miss our recent events? Never fear – you can access both recordings and supplementary resources in CIBA’s member portalJust added:

Handling Prepayments with Bookmanager

Get an insider look at enabling the Prepay settings in Bookmanager, a feature that has been dubbed by one bookseller "a Christmas miracle." In this hour-long session, Michael Neill reviews different scenarios to cover the basics of the application, gives advice on how to transition from your current method to this new system, and shares resources and tricks for ensuring a smooth transition.

Presenter: Michael Neill, Bookmanager

Effective and timely ordering and reordering strategies for the fall and holiday seasons

With continued printing difficulties and other uncertainty in certain parts of the book supply chain, planning effective and appropriate orders has become more important than ever. In this session you’ll learn how to harness your business savvy to get around these delays and be ready and well-stocked come the busy season. In addition to sharing strategies for ordering correct quantities and thinking smarter when it comes to orders, Mary Giuliano also previews a handful of key titles from PRHC's fall catalogue that you should be paying particular attention to. 

Presenter: Mary Giuliano, Penguin Random House Canada

Not a CIBA member and feel you’re missing out? Sign up now!

Between new releases, literary awards, and launch events, there is no better time to be a book lover than in the fall!

With support from publishing partners, we’ve curated two collections of recently released books to help fill out your customers’ “to read” lists. Authors and illustrators featured include André Alexis, Chantal Gibson, Harold R. Johnson, Jesse Wente, Claudine Crangle, Thomas King, Mahtab Narsimhan, and Xiran Jay Zhao.

Check out the reading list for adults here.

Click here to see our list for young readers.

On September 7 and 13, we published our lists for adults and young readers, respectively, on our social media channels. We encourage you check out those posts and share them with your community.

"I would encourage anyone to consider it as a career option or consider opening a store in their community. Your life will never be dull, and every day brings new books! What could be better than that?"

The story of Black Bond Books goes back multiple generations. Currently, Black Bond operates six locations across Vancouver’s Lower Mainland. Its stores are known for cheerful, knowledgeable staff, influential bookstore dogs, and more. We spoke to president Cathy Jesson about living in a family of booksellers, her advocacy on behalf of indie bookstores, and more.

Read the article here.


Our social media channels support members by providing plug-and-play content and encouraging Canadian readers to shop local. We’ve seen immense audience growth in our first year in response to our campaigns, themed features, member profiles, and more.

We’re in the perfect position to launch our holiday campaign. Our original content will run every week from November through December. We will also promote our new partnerships with the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Book Awards by showcasing finalists and winners this fall.

Here is what else we have planned for the last quarter of the year:

Book Features

  • Fall In Love with New Books (September 7 & 13) – available to share now!
  • National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30)
  • Halloween (October 25)
  • Young Readers Day (November 9)
  • New Year (December 30)

Monthly Content

  • #BookOfADifferentColour
  • Love Notes to Indie Bookstores
  • Meet Our Members
  • Authors’ Corner (Instagram)
  • #NameThatBook (Twitter) 

P.S. Indie booksellers from across the country will feature heavily in our holiday campaign. Please email Kayla if you are interested in getting involved!


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