Attendees at the Independent Publishers Guild's hybrid Autumn Conference in London were told that delays in the supply chain could continue into 2022 with book prices inflating to levels "not seen for a long time," the Bookseller reported.
"I do think we're in for book price inflation that we've not see for many years," said Ingram Content Group UK senior v-p David Taylor. "The specter of inflation is looming over our industry and there are several reasons for that... prices are rising and printers are going to charge publishers more and publishers are going to suck it up or it will feed through into book price inflation. I would say, a little controversially, that I think books are still an incredible value. I think we'll see an increase in book prices because publishers really won't have any choice."
In a separate session hosted by Quarto UK CEO David Graham, Taylor was joined by Gardners buying director Simon Morley who agreed, the Bookseller wrote, that a combination of the pandemic, Brexit and the decline of Bertrams had significantly affected the global supply chain.
"The last 24 months have been quite extraordinary," Taylor said. "In the last six months in particular we are seeing huge costs in everything from labor, energy, print, shortage of [computer] chips.... Christmas is coming earlier, because people are panicking and they want their items."
Morley said warehouses across the U.K. are currently having difficulty picking orders because of staff shortages and a lack of truck drivers. He added that Gardners was "fortunate to be working with the larger players, such as Royal Mail, so 90% to 95% of our orders are turning up on time in the U.K., but things are slower." Looking ahead to the holiday season, he observed that Gardners was preparing for both November and December to be "really busy.... We want to fill up shops ready for Christmas. We've purchased early from publishers."
Taylor cited the detrimental effects globally of a shortage of paper, and described the Brexit landscape for Ingram as "a complete pain in the arse." He also cautioned: "People worry about what is going to happen after Christmas. A certain Internet retailer is buying huge swathes of stock--we may have a bit of a headache coming down the track.... Things will cost more, and things will be slower, but I hope 2022 will be a better version of 2021."
Switzerland's book trade associations, representing more than 600 companies involved in the book market and 1,000 authors, "have come together to launch LIBER book vouchers to help the sector recover following the Coronavirus pandemic," the European & International Booksellers Association's NewsFlash reported. For a contribution of 60 francs (about $65.70), customers receive a voucher worth 100 francs (about $110), which can be redeemed in 400 bookshops across the country.
"LIBER is a campaign in favor of Swiss book creation that is aimed directly at readers. Today, Switzerland is a country with a great variety of books, which has to be preserved even after the corona crisis," said Tanja Messerli, managing director of the Swiss Booksellers and Publishers Association and one of the leading partners of this project.
The Australian Booksellers Association's latest newsletter welcomed a new member to the group: Canungra Books and Art in Canungra, Queensland, which noted: "Our funky shop started in 2015 as a weekend books and collectibles shop behind the Shoe Vault in Canungra's main street. After two years of learning, listening and experimenting, shooing the possums out, and visiting bookshops around Australia and the world, it was time to move on.... We had always had our eye on this delightful Queenslander, it just felt like it was made to be a bookshop and we were fortunate enough to finally obtain a lease which commenced on April Fool's Day 2017!"
Lights, camera, bookish action! Canadian bookseller Once Upon a Bookstore in Kelowna, B.C., posted on Facebook: "Remember WAAAY back in February when we closed for a day to be part of a movie shoot? Well, the trailer for Snowed in for Christmas is here and it is releasing in a couple weeks. Check out where you watch your favorite Christmas movies to find it!" --Robert Gray