by Michael Bedford
Published at 2021-11-24
With the global pandemic beating what we all hope is a hasty retreat from the news coverage spotlight, global supply-chain problems are now taking up residence as the issue du jour. With the holiday season quickly approaching, terms like “supply-chain bottleneck” and “semi-conductor shortage” are gaining significant cultural currency. And, although buying a PS5 or a brand-new car this year may not be on the table, supply-chain issues are now affecting several industries, including publishing. So, don’t get caught without a good book this holiday season: check out these five tips on how to ensure you get the books you ordered wrapped and ready in time for your family or office’s big gift exchange.
The good news is that if you haven’t yet finished your online holiday purchasing, you still have some time—just don’t wait too long. Canada Post is currently recommending that customers who are hoping to get their deliveries by December 24th order their holiday wares no later than December 9th if they intend to use Canada Post’s regular parcel delivery service. Remember the adage, “A book in the hand is better than two in the delivery truck.” Of course, there are no true guarantees where shipping is concerned so, better yet, avoid shipping delays altogether with this next tip.
It seems like far less than a year since we last heard from local business owners canvassing the purchasing public with pleas to buy local. Last year, the focus on buying local for the holidays was meant to garner support for beleaguered local shop owners having trouble keeping their costs down and their lights on. This year, however, we find ourselves motivated to shop local for an arguably less altruistic reason. No matter your motivation this year, though, shopping local is a great idea every holiday season. That said, even though your local bookstore might be just down the street, it’s a good idea to browse their shelves sooner rather than later to make sure they’ve got what you’re looking for.
Anyone who’s moved from a big city to a small town or vice versa knows that not all bookstores are created equal, though. So, if there’s a specific book that you’d like to give somebody this year, especially if it’s a popular new publication, you may need to reset your sights if you’re planning on finding a good gift for that literary person in your life. Maybe this year a thoughtfully purchased used book is the way to go. After all, lots of classic literature is so called for good reason.
Or, if the classics won’t cut it, consider supporting an independent author. Although independent authors often suffer from distribution problems, demand for their books is generally less pronounced than it is for books one would purchase from Indigo or other large-scale distributors, so shipping may be as simple as the author sending you their book in the mail. And, just like any online shopping you do this year, if you place your order before December 9th, you should be all set.
For some booklovers, using an e-reader is still out of the question. Like many modern conveniences, though, most people recognize the value of e-readers as soon as they use them. And, with millions of books available to download at the click of a URL, finding the right book or books for the discerning reader in your life is a lot easier than visiting several bookstores would be. Of course, if your book-loving buddies don’t already own an e-reader, they’ll need one to enjoy their new e-book: just remember to order both before December 9th!
The past couple of years have been tough on many of us, but with holiday gatherings back on offer this year, things at least seem to be drifting back to some semblance of normal life. The recent issues with supply chains are a nuisance, but they’re a nuisance worth bearing if it means we can once again gather together with those we love to do what many of us treasure above all else: give and receive vast quantities of books. So, in the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us, every one!”
Michael Bedford is a freelance editor, copywriter, and performer living in Stoney Creek, Ontario. He can be reached at https://mgb-editor.com/.
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