Canada Independent Bookstore Day is returning this April 24, the same day as Independent Bookstore Day hosted by the American Booksellers Association in the U.S.

The Canadian event went dormant for several years after being taken over by the Retail Council of Canada in 2018, but is now being run by the Canadian Independent Bookstore Association. So far some 60 bookstores across Canada and seven publishers including Anansi, ECW Press, HarperCollins Canada, Orca Books, Scholastic and others are offering discounts and promotions.

Shelley Macbeth, who is the head of the board of CIBA and owns Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, Ont., told Quill & Quire, that they were doing their best to make the most of the event in a challenging year. In addition, she said they were trying to recruit new stores to participate, even if they were not yet members of CIBA, which launched officially last year and remains a nascent organization.

According to research from CIBA, there are between 200 to 250 independent bookstores in Canada. In 2019, sales at independent bookstores totaled C$79 million. As an overall percentage of sales, indie booksellers sell Canadian titles at twice the rate of the rest of the market.

“Perhaps bookstores had not jumped on board previously because they felt they were too small, too far flung, too off-the-beaten track. The focus used to be on getting authors into your stores. The point this year is to celebrate who you are, where you are. What you do in your community.” She added, "The overarching theme is to promote the fact that Canadian indie bookstores are an integral part of our culture and they are champions of Canadian authors and creators from diverse backgrounds. We are trying to get that word out.”