DECEMBER 22, 2021
BY BAKER & TAYLOR
Dear Library Partners,
As we reach the end of 2021, I pause to reflect on another extraordinary year. This has been a year of change for our industry and Baker & Taylor. Libraries across the world have continued to adapt to the impact of COVID-19, grappling with changing patron needs, building closures, and re-evaluating how budget is allocated to digital and print. I am in awe of how our library partners have continued to pivot and remain undaunted in their mission to serve their communities.
As we enter 2022, the first calendar year for B&T as an independent company, I am energized. Our customers can look forward to agility in decision making, meaning that we don't just respond and react but pre-empt trends along with a continued commitment to innovation, efficiency, and library-first services. You can read more about my goals for Baker & Taylor in recent interviews with Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and The CEO Magazine.
I am also awaiting the New Year, knowing that the pandemic and its myriad of impacts are far from behind us. While we continue to shore up our operations and return service to pre-pandemic levels, supply chain pressures remain. In a recent industry webinar, several statistics provided by The Book Manufacturers' Institute reinforced what many of us are seeing on the ground:
The price of pulp for paper is up 30% this year while inventory at mills is down 65%
The shortage of qualified commercial truck drivers continues to grow, with a lack of 105,000 drivers expected by 2023 and 160,000 by 2028
Labor shortages continue across industries, particularly in warehousing and transportation
We are seeing some stabilization in the supply chain, but pressures remain. As previously noted, we recommend pre-ordering titles as early as possible to ensure timely delivery of new releases. Late orders and re-orders may experience delays based on the supply chain. We continue to populate data on our Supply Chain Issues list tool available in Title Source 360. Our buying and merchandising team created this list that highlights titles that our publisher partners have indicated may face a delay or on-sale date change.
We will continue to address delivery and service challenges in the new year and provide you with updates on our progress, trends we are seeing and what you can anticipate as the year progresses.
I'll close with a quote from Helen Keller. "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." I wish you happiness and peace this holiday season.
Grit and kindness always,
President and CEO
Baker & Taylor