Thursday, September 9, 2021

Literary news from Ron Charles, The Washington Post:

This will certainly have an adverse effect on the publishing world, especially self-publishers!

As Douglas Adams would say, “Don’t panic.” But we may be running out of paper. And this time it’s not just toilet paper. A recent report in The Washington Post warns, “Book publishers, dogged by paper shortages and shipping delays, are pushing fall releases into early next year” (story).  

Ingram, a major book distributor, issued a statement noting that “the book industry, like all physical goods industries, is experiencing Covid’s negative logistic impacts due in large part to labor and supplies shortages and transportation issues.” The company warned of “a perfect storm brewing.”

The ongoing economic effects are being felt by readers around the globe in strange ways. For instance, with millions of people stuck at home, meal deliveries have soared, forcing book publishers to compete for paper with pizza box manufacturers. 

Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt tells me that reprints of popular books are of special concern because they’re driven entirely by customer demand and so are harder to predict. “This is where the paper shortages, and all the other supply and logistic disruptions, may cause delays and even an inability to reprint at all,” Daunt says. “In truth, printer capacity in the U.S. for domestic printing has fallen short of peak needs for several years now. This year seems certain to be worse.” (Brace yourself!)

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