Book delays, say it isn’t so!

It’s almost impossible to pick up your phone, turn on the TV, or glance at anything in the news without seeing something about the covid pandemic. It has become an all-encompassing topic that ranges from healthcare to politics to workers’ rights. One of the more recent effects has come in the form of supply chain issues. The longer this goes on the harder it has become to get things. Friends on Facebook lamented the difficulty with which to obtain a specific brand of seltzer, car dealerships have record low inventory due to a chip shortage. But what does this have to do with the library, you might ask. Books. The new things that have been hard to come by are books. As book lovers, we’ve all known their value but now it seems that it has become a global problem. And it’s not just a singular issue.

Unfortunately, covid is disrupting every aspect of the supply chain, from the publisher to delivery. Ingram Content Group, one of the largest book supplies is calling this “the perfect storm.”  Port closures are causing delays at the onset of shipping of books printed internationally. As the supply of truck drivers and trucks themselves become scarcer, it’s slowing down domestic shipments of books, and there is an overall concern for potential delays of last-mile delivery carriers (FedEx, USPS and UPS). Think back to last Christmas, but worse. If you have a reader on your Christmas list, it might be best to knock any purchase for them off your list early this year. There have even been discussions of certain things not being printed at all. DC Comics is predicting delays and holding off on printing several single editions of comics.  You can read more about that here.

At CALS, we have a team of people dedicated to collection development and this has been on their radar for some time now. They are working hard to order books written by your favorite authors and much-anticipated new releases as early as possible in order to minimize delays. But, no system is perfect. So if you find that there’s a long wait for a new release or it simply hasn’t made it into the collection yet, know that it’s not for a lack of trying. The good news is that there are e-books and digital audiobooks available. Another option is to dive back into your favorite authors’ collections or ask a librarian at your favorite branch for similar recommendations, you just might find a new favorite that’s been on the shelf this whole time.