Federal government funding to help independent book sellers

GUELPH – The government of Canada will provide $156,575 to the Canadian Independent Booksellers Association (CIBA) to increase its ability to sell books online across Canada in 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield made the announcement at an event at the Bookshelf in Guelph on Nov. 9 as part of a larger national announcement about support for booksellers.  

The Canada Book Fund will provide $12 million in funding to 180 booksellers, including:

– 177 small chains and independent booksellers; and 

– three large chain booksellers.

Together, this represents 467 bookstores across Canada that will benefit from this support, including 50 booksellers located in rural or remote communities and another 37 booksellers owned by or serving members of Indigenous, official-language minority, and racialized communities all over Canada. 

Also announced on Nov. 9 was local funding of $23,024 for the Bookshelf Guelph. This is the first time funding has been distributed through the government of Canada’s new Support for Booksellers component of the Canada Book Fund. 

This new component will provide Canadian booksellers with two years of support to improve their online business models where it will be the most effective and to grow their online Canadian book sales. Funding amounts were based on past sales of Canadian-authored books. 

The COVID-19 pandemic fuelled a sharp increase in demand for online books, resulting in logistical challenges and extra labour, technology, and shipping costs.

“Local bookstores are an important link connecting Canadians to our stories,” states Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez in a press release. 

“Supporting our booksellers in growing their online channel is an investment in our cultural outreach, but also in the future of our authors and publishers. They will be able to reach more readers across Canada, wherever they are located, to have access to a wide range of Canadian books.” 

“I am thrilled to announce these financial supports for local booksellers who play an important role in our community by introducing us to diverse authors and compelling stories that are rooted in Canadian culture,” added Longfield.