Library Services Centre

The publishing industry is currently being affected by large-scale delays. These delays are the result of many different pressures on the supply chain, including shortages of truck drivers and trailers, congestion at the ports, escalating transportation costs, paper shortages, and more. This has resulted in titles across all collections types having unforeseen delays. 

 

LSC is taking the following steps to remain knowledgeable and proactive in response to these delays:

  • We have increased staffing to ensure that when items do arrive at LSC, they experience no additional delays moving through our processes and in getting to you.
  • Our Selection team has ramped up ordering beyond our normal peak and end-of-year volumes, to ensure as best we can that budgets are met by year-end.
  • We are prioritizing the release of A-list/highly visible bestseller titles as best we can.
  • We are in constant communication with our suppliers and publishing partners to have the most up-to-date information about when items are expected, when items will have known delays, and when Best Sellers have their pub dates pushed. When we know, you'll know.

As the talking point has warned us, there is a “new normal” affecting every industry, and the publishing world is no different. As this article from Publisher’s Weekly highlights, the problem has no single source, and as such no easy solution. Part of this is driven by the Great Resignation, which - in America - at least 4 million people have quit their jobs in this past spring. This combined with already high levels of unemployment and a recession in the US have caused ripple affects across multiple sectors, where there simply isn’t enough employees to carry out the amount of work needed in certain areas. Major commercial shippers are cutting their capacity by 25% or more because they can’t find qualified drivers.

 

Add to this a global shipping congestion. You’ll no doubt remember earlier this year when the Ever Given was stuck in the Suez Canal for the better part of five months. This caused significant delays to the global shipping industry. Add to this, continued closures at primary Chinese ports, from which a huge majority of products – including paper and books – ships out of. For decades, industry has shifted production and manufacturing to China due to low costs, and the global affect of that decision is a bottleneck for a considerable amount of product.  When supply is low, demand is high, and prices rise. With spots on the ships that are getting out at a premium, costs for those spots have quintupled. And the cost of the materials being shipped, like wood for paper pulp, have tripled. This isn’t just affecting the publishing industry – no doubt you’ll have noticed that coffee is getting more expensive, as is gas, toilet paper, and chocolate. 

 

Last year, the industry was impacted with printing capacity issues, and these continue, adding another layer of delay. Industry experts expect gift books, box sets, art books, cookbooks, and coffee table books to be the most effected - anything with high gloss and lots of colour pictures. They are also forecasting long delays for reprints, especially on high interest materials. The advice is, pre-order in advance. While the fall titles are already on ships, transports, and in some warehouses, these effects will linger well into 2022. Those analyzing the situation also have no optimism to report, and expect that things will continue in this way for the next 18-24 months. Moreover, as life experience teaches us, when the cost of things goes up it rarely comes back down.

 

As for what LSC is doing in the face of all this is paying attention and being proactive. For ARP accounts, we regularly order bestseller titles as soon as we know they exist, anywhere between 6 months to a year and half in advance. For those libraries doing their own ordering, we recommend ordering well in advance. If you normally wait to within a couple weeks of release, don't. Order as soon as you can. Our Selectors are happy to build lists, carts, or help your selectors in whatever way they can, you need only ask for help. Additionally, order from our best seller catalogues as soon as they are released. The Spring Notables for Adult and Juv will be out in October, and the Winter catalogues can be found in the Selection List area on our catalogue or through Issuu. 

 

We are also talking with our suppliers regularly, and when we have definite information, we will pass it along. As of right now, official shelf dates for Fall Best Sellers have not moved. Despite this, we know that many of those titles will have some unofficial delays. Every publisher is affected, and affected differently. It is our commitment to you that when we have information, when we know how this will impact your budgets and collections, and your patrons, we will let you know with as much notice as we receive ourselves.

 

We’re all in this together. And we will get through this, together.

 

UPDATE OCTOBER 5th:

Publisher's Weekly hosted a webinar on Oct 5th, with leading US industry experts to discuss the situation. While much of the information remains unchanged from above, additional details were shared.

 

Across the industry, production has moved oversees due to 40% savings when things are working well. During COVID though, there has been an increase in demand (for instance, a 12% growth in adult fiction - the highest since 2008) complicated by existing issues and new problems. Before the pandemic, there was already a steady increase in the cost of wood pulp (which is currently higher than a previous peak in 2014), and a significant loss in skilled workers in the printing industry. Approx. 1.2 million workers in the US have been lost to retirement alone. Paper mills and printing presses have been closing in record numbers over the past five years. The labour cost to bring on new staff is steep, and many companies are easier going out of business or choosing to close.

 

Getting items from oversees to the publishers have seen shipping times increase from 3 weeks to over two months, with bottlenecks at both ends (in addition to COVID, there are also apparently fires in China forcing ports to close. On the other side of the Pacific, the Port of Los Angeles has over 70 ships waiting at sea to dock and unpack, compared to a usual one). Once items do arrive, they are subject to the previously mentioned delivery shortages. FedEx has introduced caps and increased their pricing, and Canada Post has noted that package deliveries will have delays as we head into the Christmas delivery season. The experts suggested that long haul shipping will see driver shortages be common for the next six years.

 

These longer lead times have started to impact publication dates. For now, many publishers are pushing titles back by weeks (see below for a current list of know delays). They are trying their best not to postpone or push titles into new publishing seasons, especially for A-list titles with lots of marketing. However, that could be a possibility in the coming publishing seasons. They are advising, as we are, that you pre-order items in advance so that they can up initial print runs based on demand, as reprints are basically impossible for the time being. 


Our publishing partners have alerted us of some known delays to specific titles based on the Industry Delays affecting us all. The following titles have had their publication dates pushed back. In this case, these titles have all been delayed due to printing capacity issues.

 

Old Pub Date Expected New Pub Date Title ISBN
10/12/21 11/02/21
Surrounded by Setbacks
9781250789518

11/02/21

11/09/21

First Christmas, The

9781250790699
11/02/21 11/09/21
(Very) Short History of Life on Earth, A
9781250276650
11/02/21 11/09/21
Watching Darkness Fall
9781250206961
10/26/21 11/16/21
Muhammad, the World-Changer
9781250239648

11/16/21

11/23/21

Deathwatch Beetle

9781250766168

11/16/21

11/23/21

American Kleptocracy

9781250274526

11/16/21

11/23/21

City of Time and Magic

9781250260697

11/16/21

11/23/21

Man of Honor, A

9781250187451
11/16/21 11/23/21
His Greatest Speeches
9781250763457
11/16/21 11/23/21
Any Way the Wind Blows
9781250845771

 

UPDATE OCTOBER 8th:

We have received word that Video Games are likely to be struck with some delays in all formats. The majority of video game software is routed through a small number of manufacturers in the US who are suffering from staffing shortages within their plants. These delays are then compounded by the delivery issues experienced by everyone. As a result, it is expected that last minute changes to title release dates, and late deliveries past street dates are expected as we enter the largest and busiest season for video games.

 

UPDATE OCTOBER 12th:

 

While Multilingual materials from all locations have been affected by the international shipping delays that everyhting else has, we have been alerted by our Japanese supplier that, due to the earthquake on the 7th, distributions centres in Japan are experiencing delays

 

UPDATE NOVEMBER 22nd:

As much of the world is aware at this point major highways connecting the city of Vancouver, B.C. and the Lower Mainland to the rest of inland Canada are currently closed, and rail traffic in and out of the Port of Vancouver is also closed.

 

UPDATE NOVEMBER 24th:

We have received the following news from Raincoast Books in Vancouver:

 

I’m happy to report that with highway 3 open for freight traffic, albeit at cautious speeds, our two main carriers report the beginning of eastbound trucking. They both have distribution facility backlogs, which include some of the shipments we gave them last week but both are making positive signals about clearing up the backlog.

 

Barring further shutdowns, they expect to be able to start picking up from us again by Thursday Nov 25.  You can expect to begin to receive the backlogged shipments from us from approx. Nov 24 + normal transit time to your area.  And then newer orders after that.  For those of you who don’t know, highway 3 is a windy mountain route that will add some transit time – perhaps a day or so - to any shipments coming your way from our facility.  The main highway, #5, will not be fixed for many months.

 

Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns to Jamie Quinn, Manager of Customer and Selection Services.

 

PDF versions of our catalogues are available on Issuu. 

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