We've found that a lot of folks are having a hard time wrapping their heads around the supply chain issues, so here is a thread doing my best to explain:

9:05 PM ยท Sep 13, 2021

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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.
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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.
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There's also a disruption in supply from foreign mills, because the cost to ship from Asia (where we've gotten a lot of paper in the past) has more than tripled. (Fun fact: the paper shortage also affects things like paper towels and toilet paper!)
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All that means that the cost of paper has increased dramatically, plus longer production times due to decreased domestic AND foreign production. This, of course, affects books because it's where the supply chain starts.
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Also, cardboard is getting more scarce because of all these same reasons, which means less materials for boxes.
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PRINTING: The printing industry is experiencing this high cost of paper, shortages, & lag time in paper production, plus there is a big shortage of workers at printers, which further delays production of books.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.)
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As you can see, literally every piece of the supply chain is disrupted in some way. This means major delays in getting books printed & shipped at both ends of the process, which affects pretty much any order.
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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.
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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.
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Likely, you've already experienced delays in orders, but expect them to get worse as we roll into holiday season (which really begins now). Thanks for coming to my supply chain TED talk :-)
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