How are booksellers doing after last year’s supply chain hurdles?

It has been several years for book publishers and retailers. Demand for printed books soared early in the pandemic, just as work to make them was complicated by paper shortages and other supply chain problems.

We heard that last year He was lowering profitability during the most important time in the industry Holiday shopping season. So how is he now? I visited a store in New Mexico to find out.

In a retail building in downtown Albuquerque, Red Planet Books and Cartoons standing outside. Colorful outer space scene drawn on the storefront, like a science fiction movie cover A graphic novel. Store manager Aaron Covey said there was something else unique about the store.

“This is the most comprehensive and most impressive display of original comics anywhere in the world,” he said.

One of the titles of his new books is “howling“Its theme is about wolves, werewolves and rougarou,” he said. This is a shape-shifting beast that appears in the stories of Metis communities in Canada.

Covey added that the book “sells like hot cakes.” “I just shipped 12 of them today.”

These customers have been waiting for the book for some time. It was supposed to debut over a year ago, but its publisher, Lee Francis, said that didn’t work.

“It just kept getting pushed back more and more,” he said — all the way through to the spring of 2022.

Francis co-owns Red Planet Books. He also runs a small publishing company, original reality journalism, It had to adapt to printing bottlenecks caused in part by early pandemic paper shortages. Francis said it was particularly difficult to find the specialized paper needed to print comics and graphic novels.

“We just made our timing. So mostly now, just right out of the gate, we’re looking at — when we start the pre-sale — that it’s going to take three months,” he said.

For this werewolf anthology, the delays extended beyond what would have been a significant retail window in between. Native American Heritage Month and holidays.

She wasn’t the only victim, said Kristen MacLean, an analyst with NPD BookScan.

“Worst-case scenarios were happening,” she said. “You were seeing things like books that were specifically related to the holidays not making it to stores in time.”

Ahead of this holiday shopping season, McClain said some supply chain hurdles are fading, and the industry is adjusting to those that aren’t.

“Printers in the US are full,” she said. “Publishers have to change their expectations about how long it will take to create a book.”

For retailers, it means tempering Expectations, Covey said at Red Planet Books and Comics.

“You know, it’s especially important to let people know, ‘Hey, we ordered the books for you, but we just got a note from the publisher, the distributor. He won’t be here for six months.”

Red Planet began ordering holiday inventory in August of this year to make sure it had plenty on its shelves. It encourages customers to get their gift orders early, too.

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