As bookstores prepare for what’s typically their busiest quarter, they’re getting a warning: be prepared for delays. Issues surrounding labor, supplies and transportation could lead to big disappointment. Joining me to talk about the industry challenges is Gayle Shanks. She’s co- owner of Changing Hands Bookstore, the Valley’s oldest, independent bookstore.
“As we’re moving through COVID, with its bumps in the road, we thought it was going to be smoother, we are seeing a look ahead to the fourth quarter which is a really big time of year for any business. As one that is concerning us because we are not sure that we’re going to be able to get in the gifts and books that are customers are going to want this season,” Shanks said.
This concern over a delay in books is for a variety of reasons, Shanks said it’s because they are not sure what the supply chain will look like.
Bookstores like Changing Hands rely on wholesaler warehouses near their location and they’re relying heavily on the warehouse’s ability to get the store the product.
This means the trucks that will come, those working in the warehouse who will pack the books and the publishers being able to supply the wholesaler with the books that the store needs.
Another concern dealing with supply, is the store’s ability to mail books to a customer. And that has to do with a potential low supply in mailers like the boxes a book would be mailed into.
And international shipping is of concern. Shanks said she isn’t sure what it will look like for books to ship across the ocean, across the ocean and into Changing Hands.
With the upcoming surcharges from places like FedEx, UPS, the postal service, Shanks said it will have a dramatic impact on their business and she hopes customers will understand that, “it’s still important to support local businesses, even though they are told that some purchases they would make online would come free to them.”