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Introducing CIBA's Lectures and Labs Series

CIBA (Canadian Independent Booksellers Association) is preparing a series of Lectures (presentations and panel discussions) and Labs (workshops) for its members and the book industry at large. Designed to enhance the professional capabilities of booksellers, these sessions will cover a range of topics, addressing both timely concerns and the ongoing challenges that booksellers and their various partners are facing, while creating opportunities to strengthen the sector.

The series will be roughly divided into four main themes that will be rolled out over the course of the year.

Survive & Adapt (first quarter)

2020 was a difficult year, during which many bookstores not only survived but reaffirmed their significance in the lives of their customers. However, new ways of doing business, the uncertainty of government restrictions, and a book industry in turmoil have meant struggling to keep up and, in many cases, longer hours, inefficiencies, reduced sales, and new communication channels. This survival mode has taken its toll, but it also forced many booksellers to think outside the box and innovate – finding success in new ways of operating that will benefit the business even after the pandemic is over.

This series looks at the successes (and horrors!) of adapting to the times with the goal of helping booksellers to develop tools and strategies to cope with the realities of the pandemic now and beyond, including working more effectively with sector stakeholders.

Discover & Develop (second quarter)

There’s light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s time to start thinking about shifting from survival mode towards long-term thinking. Health measures and restrictions will be in place for a while yet in many parts of the country, meaning that booksellers have had to adjust to their ‘new normal’. The industry is getting back on its feet and booksellers are finally catching their breath after a difficult year.

This series will help booksellers define their ‘new normal’, what their day-to-day operations look like now that the industry is finding its new rhythm. It will  help booksellers better understand and improve their stores and operating procedures and consider how adaptations that were made during the pandemic might continue post-COVID.

Engage & Share (third quarter)

The fall book season is just around the corner, and it is time to strengthen booksellers’ position as tastemakers and the go-to authorities on the best titles. There are many forms this can take, but with publishers, authors, and literary media all vying for readers’ attention, booksellers are poised to redefine their role in the book chain.

This series aims to prepare booksellers to reap the most benefits from the fall book season, whether by hosting or partnering on events, by preparing effective displays, by ramping up (and improving) their social media presence, or by giving their website a facelift.

Revitalize and Celebrate (fourth quarter)

We’re all looking forward to a holiday season a bit different from last year’s, so this is the opportunity for booksellers to make the most out of their busiest time of year. Whether it’s working with publishers or literary media to showcase the best books of the season, sharing regional successes, or developing post-COVID strategies for the future, booksellers are celebrating a strong year despite all its challenges.

This series will focus on strategies for celebrating a new normal and keeping books in the hands of readers throughout the winter months.

Do you have an idea for a session?
Booksellers, publishers and industry professionals have a wealth of knowledge and experiencewe encourage you to share it! If you are interested in contributing to our Lectures and Labs series as a content expert, session leader, or moderator, please reach out! We also welcome your feedback and recommendations for workshop topics and presenters. Please contact CIBA’s Program Managers for Lectures and Labs, Laura Carter and Danielle LeBlanc, to share ideas and program proposals.



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We wish to acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund.

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