By any measure, the first half of 2021 was a good period for trade book publishing. Revenue at the companies that report trade sales to the Association of American Publishers’ StatShot program rose 17.6% over the first six months of 2020; NPD BookScan reported that unit sales increased 18.5% in the period; and bookstore sales jumped 30% over what was a miserable first six months of 2020. So it comes as no surprise that the four publicly traded major publishers also posted strong increases in the period. Of particular note is the fact that while sales were strong, profits were even better, with operating margins showing healthy gains. In general, the publishers cited higher sales of both backlist books and digital content, especially digital audiobooks, for the improved margins. Though supply chain issues and the uncertainty over the delta variant are causing some concerns about how the rest of the year will unfold, publishers are hoping that the increased interest in reading will carry over through the 2021 holiday season and beyond.
If the early days of 2022 have been any indication, paper shortages and rising distribution costs are challenges that the industry will likely face throughout year. The seeds of the current problems were sown in the years of the pandemic, when sales of print books unexpectedly rose, increasing demand while people were leaving manufacturing jobs in droves that led to labor shortages in the printing and papermaking businesses.
Those were two of the main takeaways from last week’s webinar, “The Powerful Case for U.S. Book Manufacturing in the Face of Global Supply Chain Challenges, Paper Shortages, and Rising Distribution Costs,” moderated by Chris Lyons, president and publisher of Book Business, and featuring Jim Milliot, editorial director at Publishers Weekly; Bill Rojack, v-p of Midland Paper; and Matt Baehr, executive director at Book Manufacturers’ Institute. The program was sponsored by Canon Solutions America.
read more at: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/manufacturing/article/88607-looking-for-answers-to-paper-shortages.html