Nebraska bookstores are getting creative in overcoming the supply chain issues they face recent years, Lincoln bookstore owner explains her story
With global supply chain constraints affecting everything from semiconductors to the meat industry, it is easy to miss local bookstores, which are also impacted by the disruptions.
Due to the pandemic’s effects on the global supply chain, local bookstores in Lincoln have experienced a rise in a number of expenses. As a result, businesses such as A Novel Idea and Francie and Finch adopt innovative business strategies to avoid passing on greater production costs to their clients.
For Katherine Bergstrom, founder of A Novel Idea in Lincoln, the pandemic and supply chain had the most impact on indirect costs associated with the purchasing of books. As a result of the pandemic, cleaning products, masks, and hand sanitizer are all priced at a premium.
“How much will shipping cost?” Bergstrom stated. If there is a problem with the supply chain, we may not receive an essential item.
Increasing utility expenses have also affected A Novel Idea, with gasoline being the most significant. Since A Novel Idea is a used bookstore, it obtains some of its texts from local sources. Occasionally transporting large collections requires gasoline. The commodity’s price remains high.
The procurement of archival covers for the literature increases as a result of supply chain disruptions, which is a cost directly associated with the books themselves. Mylar archival covers are used to protect fragile books. Without these tools, books are highly susceptible to deterioration.
Bergstrom is also aware of the importance of assisting her tiny crew during a tough period. This entails paying for food and general staff facilities, both of which are sometimes difficult to obtain.
“We’re like a household,” Bergstrom remarked. Everything that applies to a home also applies here.
At Francie and Finch, the narrative differs significantly. Francie and Finch do not sell secondhand books; they only purchase new books from centralized wholesalers. The bookstore, according to proprietor Leslie Huerta, relies on daily orders of tiny volumes of books. This mechanism was referred to by Huerta as quick replenishing.
Huerta observed that the epidemic caused a little increase in shipping and handling expenses. The packaging material used by the wholesalers to ship the purchased books posed an additional, more unpredictable challenge. The distribution center informed Huerta of a degraded substance that was more likely to cause cargo damage.
While maintaining the viability of their respective firms, both Bergstrom and Huerta emphasized the need to keep costs away from the client.
Given Francie and Finch’s rapid replenishment methodology, the normal suite of pandemic-related supply delays posed an issue from the outset. In response, Huerta stated that the bookshop adopted more thorough and rigorous daily planning with a broader range of publishers.
“There are so many fantastic books available,” Huerta stated. “Perhaps we are unable to obtain one title as quickly as we would want, but there are definitely other titles that would be of interest to our customers, so we have widened our reach.”
This required A Novel Idea to be inventive in a variety of ways. Instead of being transported in, the storefront’s decorations and displays are handcrafted. Thrifting is another effective method of cost reduction. The goal, according to Bergstrom, is to ensure that the store remains a friendly environment for customers.
Bergstrom stated, “We want people to feel good about coming here.” We have attempted to keep our prices as low as possible.