2021 Holiday Supply Chain Disaster: The Movie

Maybe you’ve heard: the book world is facing truly unprecedented shortages and delays this holiday season. Nearly every link in the supply chain is under strain. There’s no more paper in Europe until the new year! Printers are backed up! There’s a global shipping container shortage! Barges are wandering at sea, unable to dock! Across the country, workers are standing up to decades of unequal pay and unfair treatment!

We know--it all sounds like the makings of a lesser Don Delillo novel. But trust us, it’s bad out there. For too long, Amazon’s monopoly over book sales, not to mention the rise of huge media conglomerates in the publishing industry, has hidden from view the vast human infrastructure--a veritable army of editors, printers, publicists and packers--that undergirds the little book you hold in your hand. If nothing else, the current crisis serves to remind us of our interconnectedness.

We’ve worked hard this fall to ensure we are well stocked with many of this year’s big titles. But as the new year approaches, stock dwindles, and printers jam, there are bound to be disappointments, most of which will be out of our control. More than ever we appeal to your patience and understanding.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. We don’t anticipate running out of the thousands of other books we keep in stock anytime soon. Our booksellers are brimming with recommendations. We love nothing more than to steer customers to the perfect--if maybe unexpected--book. We’ve put together some guidelines to help you navigate this winter of our discontent. As always, we stand at the ready to answer any questions you may have. Shoot us an email or give us a call.

Order early! Like really early. Really. Now is good.

If you want your special ordered books to arrive by 12/25--especially if you need them shipped to you--place your order before 12/1. You are of course welcome to keep placing orders up until the eleventh hour; just please do so with the understanding that they may not arrive “in time.”

If you are having books shipped, place pre-orders separately from regular book orders. We wouldn’t want your pre-order for a book that releases in April to hold up your order for books that are available right now!

Consider doing your holiday shopping in the store, and doing so with an open heart. We know Uncle Gary had his eyes on the new Colm Toibin novel. Unfortunately, it’s been backordered into oblivion. Maybe he might like another book! A biography of Fernando Pessoa? Or a backlist title he’s never heard of--a brilliant Jean Stafford novel, perhaps.  Our booksellers would love to help you find something that will suit him just as well!

Please consult our FAQs if anything about ordering online seems unclear. Your questions might be answered there! To reiterate the main takeaways: it takes on average between 1 and 3 business days for an online order to be processed. We fulfill orders in the order they are placed, and stocking info doesn’t update in realtime, so there are no absolute guarantees that we’ll have the book you’re after in stock! Most shipments will be sent directly from the warehouse, but larger orders and some preorders will need to be ordered to the store before they can be shipped.