The New York Times – “Shipping delays, printer backups and worker shortages are forcing publishers to postpone new titles and leaving booksellers in a lurch for some old ones…The churning disruption in the global supply chain, which has touched everything from minivans to dishwashers to sweaters, has now reached the world of books, just as the holiday season — a crucial time for publishers, and a period that can make or break the entire year for an independent bookstore — approaches. Publishers are postponing some release dates because books aren’t where they need to be. Older books are also being affected as suppliers struggle to replenish them. To get a book printed and into customers’ hands, there are essentially two different supply chains. On both paths, at virtually every step, there is a problem. Books that require a lot of color, like picture books, are often printed in Asia. But transporting cargo to the United States has become excruciating, with every imaginable product jostling for position. First, there aren’t enough shipping containers. Publishing professionals say that a container, which can hold roughly 35,000 books, used to cost them about $2,500 but can now be as much as $25,000. Once books get into a container, the ship carrying it is likely to wait in line to dock at a backed-up port. Last month, a record 73 ships were bobbing around in the water near the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach. The trouble began in 2020, when a drop in demand meant that containers weren’t where they needed to be to move goods around the world when demand snapped back. After a series of other setbacks, many containers are now stuck in transit, like those aboard ships waiting to dock…”
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