In a holiday season that’s already stacking up items to feel anxious about, we want to make sure Will my books arrive on time?
isn’t on that list. To help ensure that you have a book-filled December, we’ve put together a list of holiday shopping tips based on industry-specific, insider info.
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: printing capacity is so low
that publishers are moving books originally scheduled for 2020 into 2021; also surprising, due to a shortage of both printers and paper, most printing has shifted overseas. This development makes speedy reprints of high-demand books nearly impossible during the short holiday period. Add in the current problems at USPS and staffing shortages due to COVID-19, and last-minute shopping could result in long shipping delays, even from larger e-retailers.
If you know what you want — especially if it’s a hotly anticipated new book like the Ferrante
or anything with a large amount of color printing like a cookbook, graphic novel, or picture book — buy it as early as possible. For all orders, allow an extra two weeks for standard shipping.
DO YOUR SERIOUS SHOPPING ONLINE.
We love welcoming customers back into our stores for browsing, but with limited capacity and significant supply chain issues at play, you’re more likely to find exactly what you’re looking for on Powells.com.
LOCALS CAN USE STORE PICKUP.
Come browse the stores for fun and pick up your online holiday order at the same time for free! We offer free store pickup
at our Burnside, Cedar Hills, and Hawthorne locations.
USE RECOMMENDATION LISTS TO FIND TITLES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED EARLIER IN THE YEAR.
Treat yourself to a little enjoyable Internet sleuthing and select some books you want to read or gift (hot tip: you can scroll through all of our Picks of the Month here
, or do a quick Google search for the many must-read lists bookstores and media outlets put out this spring). Why? Most bookstores stocked up on highly anticipated Spring 2020 new releases, expecting ordinary spring sales. But with everyone locked down, huge books like The Mirror and the Light
and Wow, No Thank You.
didn’t get shopped as heavily as in a regular year. This means bookstores and book wholesalers are more likely to have a lot of quantity on hand, and we’ll see fewer problems related to stock shortages and delays than with brand-new books and less popular, older titles.
BUY USED BOOKS.
Powell’s stocks all of our used books on site in our stores and warehouse, which speeds up the packaging and shipping process. Being open to buying used books — they make great, budget-friendly gifts — also deepens the pool of books to shop from, since used books are purchased separately from new books and aren’t subject to the same publisher and printer limitations currently impacting new book distribution.
PLACE MORE SMALL ORDERS.
If you want an item to arrive as quickly as possible, especially if it comes from a remote warehouse, consider ordering it separately. Orders containing more than one item must wait until all of the items have arrived at the warehouse to ship, which can cause delays.
SAVE ORDER NOTES FOR SPECIAL REQUESTS.
We love receiving your sweet notes of support, but unfortunately, they slow down our packaging and shipping process. During the holidays, save order notes for specific handling requests. Your love shows in your order, and we deeply appreciate it.
DOUBLE-CHECK THE SHIPPING ADDRESS.
Check the shipping address before you click the “place order” button. Some orders go directly to our distributors for drop shipment and we cannot change those addresses once the order is placed.
We love you, customers. Thank you for shopping independent! Happy (really early) holidays from the Powell’s team.