Amazon told third-party sellers in the US and EU who use their distribution centers for Fulfillment by Amazon that the company is “temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers.” They have disabled new shipments and replenishment to their warehouses of other products through April 5 . The notice said, “We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors,” and that is reinforced in a general press release. (In the case of retail vendors for non-prioritized goods, they are suspending new purchase orders.) The company underscores there is no interruption in delivery and fulfillment to customers of in-stock items.
The company is hiring another 100,000 people in US distribution centers, and is giving current workers a raise of $2 per hour through April. They are contributing relief funds, locally in Seattle and broadly to a $25 million fund supporting “independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees under financial distress.”
Canada’s dominant bookstore chain Indigo announced that it will close its physical stores “at the end of business today until March 27.” CEO Heather Reisman writes, “Please be assured that we are committed to doing all we can to support our employees during this difficult time, including full pay to our teams for their scheduled shifts during the closure period.”
With France on virtual lockdown, all of the big publishers — including Hachette, Editis, Media Participations, and Gallimard — have postponed their new book releases planned for the balance of March and April. The companies are also telling booksellers they will postpone payment deadlines for outstanding invoices.
Hachette has promised as additional “restart assistance plan” to help booksellers restock when the time is right, and started providing free access to their online school textbooks earlier this week.
In New York, major publishers are now closing their office facilities entirely. Penguin Random House told employees to “retrieve any last-minute necessary items” by noon today (Wednesday), when they will “completely close” the 1745 Broadway offices, including all of the current limited services (IT, Facilities, Mailroom, and Repro).
The ABA is tracking updates and offers for booksellers. They note that “Ingram is helping stores shift to direct-to-home sales for customers by offering a promotion for the next few weeks. Stores that increase their direct-to-home business with Ingram will receive a credit back from Ingram.” Ingram has also said it “is currently committed to keeping its warehouses open even if all other Ingram staff works from home. If someone on the warehouse team gets sick, Ingram may have to close that warehouse but would still be able to ship from the other warehouses.”
Bookazine is currently operating under normal business hours with no disruption in services.
Bookshop.org is increasing affiliate store commissions from 25% to 30% for the next eight weeks (which means they are giving all of the margin to the stores).
At the Busboys and Poets group of restaurants and bookstores in the Washington, DC area, across seven location “hundreds of waiters, event staff, management team members, and bookstore employees were laid off,” DCist reported Tuesday.
The British Book Awards (May 18) have moved to June 29.
Independent Bookstore Day (April 25) has been postponed.
The Australian Booksellers Association postponed its annual conference (June 21).
The Triangle Awards ceremony (April 30) and the Minnesota Book Awards ceremony (April 28) were cancelled.
To ease remote instruction, access to all Johns Hopkins University Press books and journals — and those of several other presses — are free for the next few months. Students can access from home.