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  • Hours 03.20.2020

    Due to the coronavirus, we are closed to the public.

    If you would like access to the store, please contact us for an appointment at (416) 461-3542.

    It is still business as usual on our website.

    We are open 24/7.  We ship within 24 hours!

     


     



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  • GTA Tutors: Join Alpha’s Network 07.03.2018

    We’ve always had strong relationships with the people we serve, including teachers, students, parents, tutors, homeschoolers, and other businesses.

    For over a decade we have offered a free service that connects students with local tutors, as a way to give more to that community.

    The tutoring program is an extension of our core values, which involve participating in things that matter. We believe there’s a lot more to being in the “book business” than providing people with textbooks. Our mission includes knowing what is and is not working for schools and students; it’s about being able to make recommendations, offering a new teaching or learning tool, or participating in educational initiatives.

    Students can easily request to connect with a tutor using the form found in the tutoring section of our website.

    Tutors are invited to request a meeting with us and have their name placed on the list. When we receive a request from a student that matches a tutor’s credentials, we connect the two parties.

    All tutors must have teaching and/or tutoring experience, a degree from an accredited post-secondary institution, and be able to show a recent police report or proof that you are a practicing teacher in an organization. We may also ask that you provide references.

    Registered tutors will be eligible for a store discount on their teaching materials.

    For more information or to get your name on the tutors list, use this link to email your CV and a brief letter.



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  • Planting Trees With The TRCA 05.05.2016

    On Thursday, May 5, Alpha Textbooks, along with its sister company, BookSwap, planted trees in the GTA for the third straight year. Working with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), Alpha and BookSwap employees went to the Claireville Conservation Area in Brampton, Ontario to participate in the TRCA’s annual spring reforestation efforts.

    The Claireville Conservation area is 848 acres of natural and forested area that spans the Peel region and Toronto. It’s the largest natural setting of its kind, and it is on the threshold of four major GTA cities: Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, and Vaughan. It has been part of the TRCA’s reforestation efforts for many years now.

    Our team spent the day planting two types of trees: white spruces and white pines. Along with TRCA staff Luke, Michael, Ali, and Whitney, the group worked hard to get as many trees in the ground as possible.

    “It was a good day for tree planting,” said Howard Cohen, company president. “The weather was nice, the geese were out, we planted a lot of trees, and we had fun.”

    BookSwap has donated trees to the TRCA for their annual spring reforestation efforts for over ten years now. The trees were donated by BookSwap on behalf of the schools and school departments that purchased $250 dollars or more in books with BookSwap the previous year.

    For the past few years, Alpha Textbooks and BookSwap has taken its sustainability efforts further by participating in the actual planting.

    Congratulations go out to the TRCA, the employees, and the schools that had a tree planted on their behalf. Reforestation is vital to the environment and it’s good for the community. Great work everyone!



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  • We're Hiring a Communications & Marketing Assistant 03.08.2016

    We’ve opened a new position for a Communications and Marketing Assistant at Alpha Textbooks!

    Are you a creative, tech-savvy and enthusiastic communications practitioner looking to start your career? This might be the right place for you!

     

    Job Opening

    Alpha Textbooks is looking for a Communications and Marketing Assistant to join our team for a full-time, temporary position, with the possibility of renewal. The communications assistant will provide support to the communications and marketing department, reporting directly to the Communications Manager.

    A qualified candidate will assist with all external public relations, internal communications and marketing functions. Duties include assisting with stakeholder communications, drafting and implementing social media strategies, content writing, outreach coordination, internal relations, event coordination, and more. The assistant will also help draft copy and new promotional materials for upcoming web projects.

     

    More on what you’ll be working on:

    Integrated, promotional, social media and stakeholder communication initiatives.

    Implementing company key messaging, branding and media outreach.

    Coordinating mail outs, ads and related materials.

    Content marketing.

    Working with the communications manager, company directors and communication interns to develop campaigns or strategies.

    Research and situation analysis.

    PR – Community Initiatives, school sponsorships and related.

    Analytics, analytics, analytics. Reading, recording and making sense of our online data.

    Internal relations – company swag, keeping the lines of communication open with staff, getting staff excited about PR initiatives and projects.

    Basic design using Adobe software.

     

    Qualifications

    A certificate or degree in communications, PR, marketing, or a related field.

    Knowledge and practice in strategic planning.

    Excellent and concise copy writing skills.

    Excellent proof reading and editing skills.

    Creative thinking.

    Knowledge of CP style.

    Ability to be well organized.

    Familiarity with Google Analytics and social media analytics tools.

    Expert knowledge of MS Word.

    Working/intermediate knowledge of MS Excel and other MS Office applications.

    Excellent time management.

    Basic knowledge of Adobe creative suite an asset.

     

    To apply for this position, please send a cover letter and resume to jobs@alphatextbooks.com.

     

    Due to the volume of applications received, we can only contact candidates who are selected for an interview.

     

    Additional Information

    This is an entry-level, 3-month contract position, with the possibility of renewal.

    Located minutes away from Downsview Station by bus; ample parking also available.

    Working hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., additional time as needed.

    All candidates will be expected to show a portfolio.

    No phone calls, please.

     

    ABOUT

    Alpha Textbooks Inc. is a Toronto based small business that helps families and schools save on their educational materials. We’ve been in business for over 20 years. We’re known for our great customer service, and our community and environmental initiatives. Alpha Textbooks was the first full-service online bookstore for the independent school community in Ontario. As industry leaders, we pride ourselves on providing quality learning materials and expert advice to students, teachers and homeschoolers across Canada and the world.



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  • 2015-16 Short Story Contest Winners Announced 02.24.2016

    We are very excited to announce the winners of the 2015-16 Alpha Textbooks Short Story Contest.

    The art of writing fiction is a challenge that takes years to master, and everyone who submitted is on their way there. The team at Alpha Textbooks offers BIG congratulations to all the young writers who rose to the challenge and submitted their work. It takes a lot of courage and craftiness to write fiction. You all did a great job.

    There was some stiff competition! We received story submissions from 200 students in nine school boards and 14 private schools. Entries came in from as far north as Thunder Bay, right through the province and down into southwestern Ontario, in Hamilton and the Niagara regions.

    First place winner in the middle school category is Nathan Nambiar, a grade seven student in Mississauga, for his touching story about a boy who remembers his deceased father through images found on an old smart phone. Nambiar was closely followed by Katrina Lefebvre, “Futuristic Jeopardy,” and Anika Tan, “Red Button.”

    First place winner in the high school category was Laura Collie, for her story, “The Wall” – a telling narrative about the complicated and fraught relationship between a mother and daughter in the face of cancer. Collie was followed closely by Kay Wu, “Innocence: A Story,” and Abby Traina, “The City’s Secret Glass.”

    Visit the contest website for winner photos and bios.

    First place winners will be re-working their stories for publication in the Claremont Review, they also receive four passes to the AGO or Medieval Times (depending on their category), and two ROM passes. Second place winners receive two passes to the ROM, plus two movie passes; third place winners are also going to the ROM.

    We want to thank the contest’s generous sponsors including the Claremont Review, the Art Gallery of OntarioMedieval Times, the Royal Ontario Museum, Pizza Pizza, and a private donor (who wishes to remain anonymous) for the Cineplex passes.

    These great sponsors helped make the contest a success. They helped enrich the lives of young people across the province.

    We want to offer another big applause to all the schools from where students submitted and/or teachers participated. You are obviously doing a great job.

    Congratulations goes out to Bishop Strachan School, Blyth Academy, Brantford Collegiate Institute, Great Lakes Christian High School, Greenwood College, Hagersville Elementary, Hillfield Strathallan College, Hudson College, Lasalle Secondary School, MacLachlan College, Maitland River Elementary School, Marymount Academy, Newton’s Grove School, North Toronto Christian School, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Mercy School, Pretty River Academy, St. Charles Garnier, St. Edmund Campion, St. Elizabeth Seton School, St. Gerard Catholic Separate School, St. Gertrude, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School, St. Luke Catholic School, St. Mark, St. Mildred’s Lightbourn School, St. Patrick High School, Statford Northwestern Secondary School, Sterling Hall, The Country Day School, University of Toronto Schools, and Westmount Secondary School.

    A raffle for four more AGO passes will be held next week, that will include the shortlisted students and the second runners-up.

     



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  • the Claremont Review's Annual Writing & Art Contest is on 02.05.2016

    Last fall, we teamed up with the Claremont Review (tCR) an international magazine for young writers based out of Victoria, BC. tCR generously helped out the 2015-16 Alpha Textbooks Short Story Contest, by offering a space for our winners to be published in the journal. Judging for our contest is in the final stages, but tCR has a great contest of its own.

    tCRs Annual Writing & Art Contest is open to teens (13-19) anywhere in the world. Not only are winners published, but they are awarded a handy sum of cash too. Jody Carrow, tCR editor-in-chief, told Alpha Textbooks “just this year [they] doubled the prize money, which makes the amounts very significant[,] $1000 for first” place, and a new $500 prize for visual arts. Second and third place young writers get $600 and $400 respectively. Winners are selected in both poetry and fiction categories.

    Carrow mentions that the magazine receives entries from all over the world. Winners have come from Canada and the United States up until now, but she “expects that to change as [they] get more entries from youth around the world (Korea, Vietnam, India, the UK, Columbia, etc.).” The stories are kept anonymous throughout the judging process to keep the contest results free of bias.

    When it comes to the volume of contest entries, Carrow says that she finds herself “in awe of how many young people still want to write”:

    I am continuously amazed by the range of unique perspectives on age-old topics such as love, loss, identity, what makes a meaningful existence, relationships, the future…

    To read so many heartfelt explorations of the human condition gives me hope for our collective future (even when, actually, ESPECIALLY when the writing is dark) because the act of writing means one hasn’t given up; it means that people still care to grapple with this great, messy, glorious event called Life.

    What sets tCR apart from other magazines is that it offers feedback or mentorship to all youth who submit to the magazine. Unfortunately, because of the sheer volume of contest entries, the magazine editors cannot offer feedback on contest submissions. However, young writers are invited to rework their stories or poems and resubmit for general publication, or they can try submitting a totally different piece. Even if the works-in-progress aren’t published, the feedback process helps youths become better writers, bringing them one step closer to their goal.

    Mentorship and feedback is essential to the longevity and quality of a young writer’s experience not only because when they take the time to read and consider it they become better writers, but the exchange creates a relationship that is always available to them. Our editors are committed to remaining mentors for young writers long after the initial exchange of feedback. Anyone who sends us work will get feedback from us and the writers/artists know they can write to us anytime with questions or concerns they have.

    The contest deadline is March 15, 2016. Visit the Claremont Review‘s contest page for more details.

    Read Alpha’s full interview with Jody Carrow.

    the Claremont Review, along with the generous support of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, and Pizza Pizza, made the Alpha Textbooks 2015-2016 Short Story Contest possible Thank You.

     



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  • Heartfelt explorations of the human condition...Jody Carrow speaks about youth writing 02.04.2016

     

     

    “… the act of writing means one hasn’t given up; it means that people still care to grapple with this great, messy, glorious event called Life. The fact that so many youth are choosing this method of making sense of the world means that they care deeply about the world they inhabit and want to share their perspectives on it.” ~ Jody Carrow

     

     

    Nearly a quarter of a century old, the Claremont Review (tCR) is a journal that has come-of-age while publishing writers who are coming-of-age. As an international journal, the Canadian magazine publishes youth writing (ages 13-19) in English from five continents.

    What separates the tCR from other journals is that it offers a rare, if not coveted, submission experience – the editors offer feedback: “All submissions accompanied by an email address receive a written comment on their work,” says the magazine’s website.

    tCR also runs an annual contest. Not only are winners published in the magazine, but winners are offered generous monetary prizes. The 2016 first place winner is awarded $1000 CAD, second place receives $600, and third receives $400. Winners are selected in both poetry and fiction categories. There’s also one visual art prize of $500.

    We spoke to Jody Carrow, Canadian writer and the editor-in-chief of tCR. Carrow offers an insightful understanding of youth writing, and the importance of nurturing and celebrating it.

    Jody Carrow’s work has appeared in several Canadian literary magazines, including Grain and The Malahat Review (under her spy name: Jody Lesiuk). She has been a featured reader at many poetry events in Victoria, B.C., and is a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Victoria. As editor-in-chief at tCR, she is thrilled to work with skilled young writers and artists from all over the world.

     

     

    This is what she had to say about youth writing and the contest:

    Q: How long have you been volunteering at the Claremont Review as editor-in-chief and overall?

    A: I have been with tCR for almost 4 years. I began as editor-in-chief and remain in that role. I am supported by an incredible team – Shannon Horlor, Leah Baade, Erin Renwick and Emily Henderson.

     

    What inspired you to join the tCR?

    Susan Stenson, a Victoria poet and co-founder of tCR, asked me if I would consider taking over the magazine as she, along with the other co-founders Terence Young and Bill Stenson, were looking to retire. They had been with the magazine for over 20 years and were looking to move on. I was very interested in the project because I love editing and the chance to be involved with a publication was a challenge I was keen to take on. My mind was virtually made up before I had even read any previous issues, but then when I actually read some back issues, I got really excited about what the pages held. I could not believe the quality of the writing – it far exceeded my expectations for youth literature (I am now humbled to admit). The writers became the inspiration for me.

     

    How long has the Annual Writing Contest been running?

    I believe there has always been a contest but just this year we doubled the prize money, which makes the amounts very significant ($1000.00 for 1st!) and added a first prize ($500.00) for visual arts.

     

    What’s the contest vetting process like?

    The process is a lengthy one as we get so many submissions and each one has to be read and considered. In the past I have done the shortlisting, but this year some of the editors will assist with that process. There is always a pile of obvious considerations, then a pile of maybes, and a pile of ones that don’t make the cut. The “maybe” pile is always the biggest and I return to it several times before making the final decision on what work goes to the judges. The shortlisting is a blind process, the cover letters are separated from the work before I even take a look at it to ensure no bias affects my decision making. Once there is a collection of work finalised in each category, we then send the work to the judges. We always have 2 judges in each category and have always managed to secure esteemed and successful writers to decide the winners. In the past we have had Melanie Siebert, Garth Martens, Ali Blythe, Jay Ruzesky, Hal Walling, Aaron Shephard, Susan Gee, Beth Copeland…this year’s judges are just being confirmed.

     

    What’s your favourite part of the process (contest)?

    My favourite part is the initial read through. Every year I find myself in awe of how many young people still want to write and take the time and effort to send us their work. I am continuously amazed by the range of unique perspectives on age-old topics such as love, loss, identity, what makes a meaningful existence, relationships, the future…

    To read so many heartfelt explorations of the human condition gives me hope for our collective future (even when, actually, ESPECIALLY when the writing is dark) because the act of writing means one hasn’t given up; it means that people still care to grapple with this great, messy, glorious event called Life. The fact that so many youth are choosing this method of making sense of the world means that they care deeply about the world they inhabit and want to share their perspectives on it. This subverts the stereotype that youth don’t care about anything, that all that matters to them is the shallow surface of their lives. tCR proves how wrong anyone who assumes this is. The magazine (and others like it) gives us a glimpse into the future by showing us what matters to our youth. Anyone who doesn’t take the time to “check in” with this demographic by valuing and paying attention to their art has no idea what is going on or where the future is headed. Critics should be paying attention, social scientists should be reading us, political and spiritual leaders ought to know what is in our pages. The Canada Council for the Arts has been a huge proponent of what we do because they see the value in investing in a publication that showcases the talent of young writers and artists from Canada and around the world.

     

    Are the winners generally from Canada, or have you had any international winners?

    Both. We have winners from Canada in every contest and have had several from America. No one outside North America has won a prize yet, but I expect that to change as we get more and more entries from youth around the world (Korea, Vietnam, India, the UK, Colombia, etc.)

     

    How do you think mentorship and feedback changes a young writer’s experience?

    Mentorship and feedback is essential to the longevity and quality of a young writer’s experience not only because when they take the time to read and consider it they become better writers, but the exchange creates a relationship that is always available to them. Our editors are committed to remaining mentors for young writers long after the initial exchange of feedback. Anyone who sends us work will get feedback from us and the writers/artists know they can write to us anytime with questions or concerns they have.

    It is very hard to have your work rejected. Adults struggle with it and I think it is especially difficult for young writers because they are that much more vulnerable to public opinion. This is why we give detailed feedback to every submitter (except for the contest entries) – we want them to know what is really great about their writing (and there is always something) and where it needs some work. This is done in the gentlest way possible while still giving them a taste of what the world of trying to publish looks like. We often hear back from youth who have given a piece another go and want us to take another look at it, or who have just even taken the time to write back and thank us for the feedback. We have a lot of repeat submitters, not all of whom have been published, so that gives us assurance that our feedback is useful and respectful. Something that builds writers up rather than tears them down.

     

    In which countries is tCR distributed?

    Magazines Canada distributes tCR in Canada and I believe the US. We get subscriptions from all around the world and handle those ourselves.

     

    Have there been any future success stories of writers who were former contest winners or who got their career started at tCR?

    Many, many writers who have published in tCR have gone on to become successful writers, filmmakers, poets, editors, etc.

     

    Do you offer any special programs that writers, teachers or schools should know about?

    In or around Victoria, BC where we are based, we offer free writing workshops and lectures to any class at the middle and high school level. We will travel to any school outside our region who would be willing to have us at their expense.

     

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Yes, thank you. I would like to ask parents, teachers, relatives and elders to encourage creative expression in the youth they are privileged to know. Don’t be afraid of what they want to say or show you with their art – see it for what it is: a statement or comment on life from someone who cares deeply about itand an opportunity for you to connect with them in a real way about what may be going on in their lives. Don’t worry about them necessarily because their topic is dark or disturbing. It may be hard to read a poem about rape or a story about mental illness or suicide, or look at a painting depicting a dystopian violent world created by your son/daughter/student. Read it anyway. Look at it no matter what and find some way of celebrating the courage it took them to not only create it, but share it with you. Find a way to talk to them about their work in a way that is supportive. You will lose them if you don’t. The time to worry is when they stop creating, stop opening up, stop wanting to grapple with life, not when they’re messy with it and reaching out!

     



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