Tempering Fears Of The Book Shortage

People are concerned about a possible nationwide book shortage.
Posted at 8:48 PM, Oct 19, 2021

As the holiday season comes closer, worries of a nationwide book shortage are bubbling up — but it's not as dire as you may think.  

"Books are planned. And publishers have decided on publication dates and indeed, printed books months in advance. We're already buying the books for April," said Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt.

If anyone knows about book supply chain woes, its Daunt. 

The fears of the book shortage stem from labor shortages at lumber and paper mills, not enough truck drivers, and port congestion, as well as a rise in print sales earlier this year.  

But that doesn't mean bookstores will be sitting empty come Christmas.  

"Stores are full. There's no shortage of books, really on anything. But the concern is that with the congestions around the ports … when there's a surprise bestseller, that we may not get the resupply and the reprinting of those done," Daunt said.

Surprise bestsellers — which happen every year — will be harder to restock, as will more obscure gift books, coffee table books and cookbooks.  

Beyond all the worries of the book shortage, there is a positive outlook: the book industry's recovery from the pandemic.  

"We're coming out of, obviously, the trauma, frankly, of having our stores closed at the start of the pandemic and then very much more empty than we like. And now they've been increasingly getting busier," Daunt said.

Analysts hope that the "rise in reading" will continue for the rest of the year, and the moral of the story is: If you've got an eye on a book, make sure to grab it as soon as you can.