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Slight Delay

Texas Jack: America's First Cowboy Star has been delayed one month, and will be released on May 1st.

Many authors and their books are experiencing similar delays. The coronavirus pandemic closed the two major printers for part of 2020, and both Quad and LSC Communications have been playing catchup since. To paraphrase the New York Times, "when the pandemic forced bookstores across the country to close and authors to cancel their tours, many editors and publishers made a gamble. They postponed the publication of dozens of titles...Now, things are far from normal. Books that were bumped from spring and early summer are landing all at once, colliding with long-planned releases and making this one of the most crowded publishing seasons ever. And now publishers are confronting a new hurdle: how to print all those books."

Believe it or not, book sales were up last year, with unit sales up 5% and print sales up 12% (depending on which period you look at). But this upward movement comes after an extended downturn, and printing capacity isn't where it once was. Penguin Random House has also delayed a large number of titles, and their director of publishing operations said “The infinite printer capacity hasn’t been there for a while, now enter Covid and a huge surge in demand, and you have an even more complex situation.”

I read somewhere recently that Julia Quinn's book The Duke and I, the basis for the Netflix blockbuster Bridgerton, was scare in print and the publisher had to ramp up production to meet demand, bumping other forthcoming titles in favor of a guaranteed seller. That's the reality we live with today. There is a limited capacity by essentially only two major printers, and that capacity has been tested by an increase in demand for print books and a matching increase in exposure for some author's work. From the author's perspective, this is a good problem to have. A slight delay because more people are reading books is the rising tide that lifts all ships.

Texas Jack: America's First Cowboy Star will now release on May 1st.

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