Are Books the Next “Supply” Shortage?

An interesting news trend on my LinkedIn feed this week is a potential book shortage for holiday shoppers. Apparently there’s a perfect storm of paper supply issues, labor concerns, and transport problems that could affect how many copies of print books your bookseller receives. This particular article has a very good breakdown of the situation.

This article in The Atlantic goes a different direction though, really only mentioning books in a bare bones way (which is why it’s trending on LinkedIn with the book supply issues). Other takeaways from it are much more insightful, frankly, from a preparedness perspective. I gleaned a great deal from these little nuggets:


“…Americans are habitually unattuned to the massive and profoundly human apparatus that brings us basically everything in our lives. …

“… The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that as of July, consumer prices had grown almost 5 percent since before the pandemic, with some types of goods showing much larger increases. …

“… Offshoring has systematically decimated America’s capacity to manufacture most things at home, and even products that are made in the United States likely use at least some raw materials or components that need to be imported or are in short supply for other reasons.”

And a BIG nugget worth noting in the sentence that followed the one above:

“Pharmaceutical manufacturing, for example, has been stymied at times because many active ingredients are imported from China, or because some drugs are only manufactured overseas, according to Michael Ganio, the senior director of pharmacy practice and quality at the American Society of Hospital-Systems Pharmacists, which maintains a database of drug shortages in the United States.”

Which has me thinking, as much as I love to read, perhaps it’s not the books we should be concerned about after all. Perhaps we need to look at our pharmaceutical needs, where applicable, and prepare accordingly. Maybe Granny is getting ibuprofen for Christmas instead of a crossword puzzle?