"Our publisher sales reps have all been advising us to stock up early on some titles because of likely shortages this holiday season," notes Kerry Mayer, assistant manager of Auntie's Bookstore. "We're all trying to minimize the impact as much as possible, but there's no way to know for certain which titles won't be available right before Christmas."
A perfect storm of paper and labor shortages as well as bottlenecks in overseas transportation are all contributing to precarious availability for the upcoming holiday season.
The shortages are coming at a bad time for the industry, which saw sales of print books jump more than 18 percent in 2021 over the previous year, according to Publishers Weekly. Gift book sets, cookbooks and art books are expected to be particularly vulnerable to shortages. On the bright side, independently owned bookstore staff can often help you find a suitable replacement that's already on their shelves.