PAPER: There's a paper shortage, which is driving up costs. Demand for wood is SUPER high (you may have heard about lumber shortages), & there isn't enough to go around, which causes delays in obtaining materials to make paper AND increases the cost.
Paper mills have been cutting production for years due to lack of demand, then the pandemic hit & production was cut even more. The demand has increased much more than expected, & paper mills just don't have the raw materials or the workforce to keep up.
With printing presses getting busier as the year goes on, they will become backed up. This on top of the loss of a couple major book manufacturers that closed in the past couple years means that all these book projects (the same amount or more) are going through a smaller funnel.
WAREHOUSES: These are also experiencing worker shortages due to COVID, which means less people to pick, pack, & ship, which equals more delays. Factory fires are also up 150% because of gaps in regulations & process execution & a lack of skilled labor in warehouses.
SHIPPING: There are lots of dockworkers in quarantine, which means shipments from overseas are delayed. There's been a shipping container shortage as well. All of this has contributed to a huge spike in costs of international shipping, & many publishers print books overseas.
There's also port congestion, COVID outbreaks in factories, the container shortage, the cardboard shortage, etc. Plus, there's a shortage of truck drivers as well due to COVID. (Don't get me started on the worker shortages because companies won't pay or give healthcare.)
If a store doesn't have a book in stock/sells out, it could be 6-8 weeks before we can get more. If we have a book in stock that we can immediately ship out, delays will be less, but there will likely still be shipping delays, especially as we get closer to the holidays.
All this to say: PLEASE ORDER NOW for the holidays. And PLEASE do not get angry at or blame bookstores (especially indies) or bookstore workers. This is in no way our fault, and we are doing our absolute best. These delays are happening in ALL retail. Don't be a dick.