Buy freebies today to beat paper shortage, editors warn

Don’t wait for Christmas – buy this book today, the publishing industry has warned as retailers face empty shelves due to a global paper shortage.

Books have joined fuel, vinyl and turkeys as the latest commodity facing supply chain squeeze.

The problems started with a shortage of lumber which, along with the introduction of stricter environmental standards for pulp production, pushed the price of paper to record highs earlier this year.

The shortage was compounded by a lack of shipping containers, clogged ports and the same shortage of truck drivers that left gas stations empty.

Browsers will always find shelves well stocked for Bookshop Day, the national celebration of physical retailers, featuring authors such as Jeanette Winterson, Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, which takes place on Saturday.

But supply chain pressures are felt as the publishing industry gears up for Christmas with the delivery next week of some 300 new titles, including early memoir by Billy Connolly and those by John le Carré. , during what became Super Thursday.

“If you browse through a book and see a book you like, buy it now” (Photo: Niklas Halle’n / Getty)

“If you browse and see a book you like, buy it now. You don’t want to wait until Christmas Eve, ”urged David Shelley, managing director of publishing giant Hachette UK, who was elected president of the Publishers Association this year.

Booksellers hope to capitalize on a positive element of last year’s foreclosure – a rediscovery of the love of reading, reflected in a 16 per increase in sales of fiction.

“There has been an upsurge in reading and an increased demand for physical books. Everyone in the supply chain is working hard to manage the replenishment of books once the current copies are out, ”said Mr. Shelley. I.

Children’s titles, which are expected to be solid Christmas sellers with new books from Julia Donaldson and Tom Fletcher on the way, may be in short supply.

“There is a particular challenge with the illustrated titles,” said Mr. Shelley. “A lot of them are printed outside the UK and require special quality paper. “

The theme for Christmas readers is “entertainment”.

Mr. Shelley said: “People really want to cheer themselves up after the last 18 months. Billy Connolly’s book is very funny, and Miriam Margolyes’ memoir is hilarious as well.

Covid sparked another literary trend. “A lot of musicians, with free time because they couldn’t perform live, wrote memoirs,” Mr. Shelley said.

“Dave Grohl put his pen to paper and [Primal Scream singer] Bobby Gillespie’s autobiography was released on Thursday.

Bookshop Day is designed to give a boost to independent stores and high street retailers battling the power of Amazon, which controls roughly 50 percent of all book sales.

Does Mr. Shelley support the initiative taken by Dave Eggers, the award-winning campaign author, to “boycott” Amazon by allowing only small bookstores in the United States to stock hardcover copies of his new novel? The whole, who satirizes a monopoly giant online?

“Our guiding philosophy is to make books as easily and widely available to the consumer as possible,” said the publishing boss, who, for reasons of commercial confidentiality, is unable to say whether the power of Amazon distribution means it will have the first call to available books during any shortage.

Mr. Shelley also dismisses the idea, voiced by the literary magazine Strong Words, that Richard Osman’s incredible sales performance for his detective novels – which will soon surpass the two million mark – is distracting attention from other larger books. worthy.

“A rising tide lifts all ships. When people come to a store to buy a book, they also tend to come away with another title.

What if the call for timely purchases results in panic buying that empties the shelves?

“So far we’ve been managing supply very well, but we don’t know how things are going to go until Christmas,” said Mr. Shelley. “It is better to buy as soon as possible. “

Super Thursday outings

Silverview: John Le Carré

Completed before his death last December, Spymaster gave his blessing to publish the novel, which follows a bookseller who becomes embroiled in a spy leak.

“The fascinating story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morality.”

Windswept and Interesting: Billy Connolly

The comedy legend’s first complete and funny autobiography, recounting his rocky start in Glasgow and his later rise to stardom – with a few digressions along the way.

“Other people have written about me – or for me – but this time it’s just my own life in my own words.”

A Cookbook: The Basics of Nigel Slater

The Big Perennial Christmas Vendor publishes a collection of over 200 favorite recipes of a lifetime in the kitchen… “from finding the best way to roast a chicken to the trick to a smoky, smooth mashed eggplant” .

The Christmas Pine: Julia Donaldson (Author) Victoria Sandøy (Illustrator)

The latest magical picture book from the bestselling Zog and Superworm creator celebrates the pine tree intended to be given as a festive gift from Norway to stand in Trafalgar Square. Will the children’s darling be affected by the shortage of illustrated paper?

Tenement Kid: Bobby Gillespie

Ultimate gift for the aspiring leather clad rocker in your life. The Primal Scream singer traces his way through punk, the onstage insurrections of Jesus & Mary Chain to the acid house madness of the Screamadelica years.

Highlights of the day at the bookstore

Jeanette Winterson and Mark O’Connell, author of Notes from an Apocalypse, discusses “What Mankind Might Do Next” at Manchester Central Library, 6pm

Lara maiklem, bestselling author of Mudlarking and A Field Guide to Larking, will reveal the treasures hidden in streams and rivers at the Festival in a Factory in Stoke-on-Trent at 11am.

Robin ince reached Mount Florida Books in Glasgow on their 100 bookstore tour to accompany the release of their new book, The Importance of Being Interested (8 p.m.). At each stop, the science presenter asks booksellers to recommend the book that piqued their curiosity the most.

Melissa Cummings-Carrière and Natalie A. Carter, authors of Grown: The Black Girls’ Guide to Glowing Up, “will share stories and offer honest and practical advice on how to make your choices yours, live your truth fearlessly” at the newly opened Bookhaus Bristol.

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