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Business/Economy

There are all sorts of snags along the global supply chain

The entrance to Buffalo's downtown library.
Avery Schneider
/
WBFO News

If you want to take a book out of a public library, it has to have been shipped there to be put on the shelves.

During COVID, it could be difficult, and Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Director John Spears said a lot of issues during the pandemic have continued.

"For instance, there is a bit of a shortage of paper right now," Spears said. "It hasn't affected us that much, but the vendors are telling us buy now for the number of copies that you think you will need because there might not be as many print runs as there used to be.”

Spears said some of this is turmoil in the publishing business and financial problems in the companies that actually print the books and send them to warehouses.

For Jack Ampuja, this is all familiar. He’s the executive in residence for Niagara University and a former executive in the paper industry.

“Among the presentations that I have done for a number of groups is supply chain resiliency, that many companies are now saying that I can't afford running the risk of running so lean that I'm out when customers call. So I'm willing to spend more money, open more warehouses, have more inventory, have inventory closer," he said. "It's going to cost me more, but I'm willing to do that to maintain my market position and to keep customers."

Spears said if you think, 'Well, the book isn’t on the shelf, so I’ll just take out the book on tape, not true.

“If it's an Amazon title, they may not license it to libraries, in which case it will never be available at a public library," he said. "Also, prior to the pandemic or right as it was starting, there was the MacMillan publisher that was putting restrictions on the purchase of e-books by libraries. A system such as ours, we would have been allowed to buy one copy.”

And that’s not even a supply chain issue.