Canadian Independent Bookstore Day:
On Saturday, April 30, it is Canadian Independent Bookstore Day (CIBD). It is the annual event where independent bookstores are celebrated across the country by publishers, authors, illustrators, writers and everyone in-between.
Independent bookstores are community-driven, and they rely on local support to thrive in the bookselling industry. CIBD is all about celebrating the commitment indie bookstores have for their community, the authors they represent and the space they hold for the book-buying public.
LaHave River Books is one of many indie bookstores in Atlantic Canada that looks forward to celebrating CIBD each year.
Andra White and Gael Watson co-own LaHave River Books located on the South Shore in NS. Their beautiful space is part-bookstore part-bakery and they opened in July 2016.
This locally-owned independent bookstore survived the pandemic. White says that COVID-19 switched everything around for the bookstore and bakery. The bakery doors were shut and they moved online for folks to purchase groceries and goods, similar to many locally-owned businesses at this time. The bookstore followed suit.
Over the past two years, LaHave River Books opened and closed its doors repeatedly as the waves of COVID followed.
People tended not to linger, White says, but thinks that this summer people may feel better about spending more time in the space and sitting down to enjoy it.
“We are still really limiting the number of people that can sit in the bakery,” says Watson. “The mood is we are not through this yet, we still ask people to sanitize their hands before touching the books. We don’t insist that people wear masks because we can’t.”
“It’s sort of a very transitional time right now, as people feel it out personally — what is their own safety level?”
White says that looking back at their numbers from last-year, LaHave River Books was supported by their community and people visiting from other provinces in the summer. She adds that the other bookstores in their area are all really well supported, both by the public and each other.
“We’re optimistic, knock on wood — you never know… This whole COVID thing has made you realize that you really don’t have control over anything,” says White laughing.
“We’ll just keep reading our books.”
LaHave River Book’s events this weekend align with CIBD and National Poetry Month. Their event on Saturday, April 30, is an Elizabeth Bishop Tribute and will be a poetry reading from several poets to pay homage to Bishop’s work. Their other event this weekend, on May 1, is a sold out launch of Michelle Wamboldt’s debut novel Birth Road.
They can host a maximum of 40 people safely, but make sure to check out their event page on Facebook for more details about how to attend upcoming events at their store.
Remember, every day is a great day to celebrate Indie bookstores!
To find an independent bookstore near you, check out the CIBD Indie Bookstore map. If you don’t see your local bookstore they’re always adding more, so, follow the page’s directions to recommend an addition.
For independent bookstores in NS check out the WFNS indie bookstore list.
For independent bookstores in NB check out the Inspired by NB list.
A complete list for independent bookstores is hard to find in PEI, but some of the bookstores on this list are a great start.
Are you looking for ways to support Canadian Independent Bookstore Day? Here’s what you can do:
- Buying books from your local indie bookstore, in-person or online.
- Keep an eye out for bookstore activities – Many shops across the country are holding local events to celebrate CIBD, with giveaways, author events, discounts and more. Be sure to check out store websites, events pages and/or social media channels for details.
- Share your favourite indie bookstore and spread the word. Follow CIBD on their social media channels, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to find out more about their campaigns and events.