How It Works: Holidays 2020

Hello readers!

We know that no one really wants to think about the holidays yet–wasn’t it March a week ago? or maybe three years ago? Honestly, 2020 has been hard to keep track of. But what with the snow yesterday, we realized that it’s already September–and that we need to start thinking Holiday Thoughts.

While normally we would never want to skip over Halloween, the holiday season this year is going to be weird (just like…literally everything this year). So even though we’ve just started thinking about pumpkin spice and colored leaves, we have also been looking ahead to twinkly lights and decorated trees. And if there is a specific book you want to have wrapped under those decorated trees? Order now. Order early, order often, but start now.

Why now? Usually you can order books up through mid-December and know they’ll get to you in time. But this year, things are slower. And it’s going to make stocking your…er, stockings, a little more difficult. There are only two printers still working at capacity, which means they are overwhelmed with print orders and behind on making books. These delays are only going to get more and more drastic as we advance through the holiday season and more books come out–October is one of the biggest release months of the year for books, and all those books coming out will need to be printed and bound, pretty much in one of two facilities. And then, of course, the books have to be shipped, and, as you know, the USPS is under siege right now and other fulfillment centers are overwhelmed and will become moreso as more packages get ordered for the holidays.

Basically, there’s kind of a pandemic/printing/postal service perfect storm that is going to make getting books this Christmas very slow.

We’re trying to be as transparent as possible about all of this–and we will continue to do so moving forward into the season. But the problem is that there are many, many unknowns. We don’t know how long the mail is going to take to get books to us, we don’t know how far behind the printers are going to end up by December, we don’t know which books are going to be prioritized or expedited with the printers–or if any are going to be expedited at all. So, everyone’s favorite word of 2020–uncertainty–rears its ugly head and we have to tell you that we just don’t know what the holiday season is going to look like.

Luckily, we have some ideas for making it a little bit easier. Hopefully.

We’re working on stocking up on books we think are going to be bestsellers or popular titles. We’re ordering up on big books with lots of media heat or books that are being made into tv shows and movies that you might want to read before seeing. We’re making lists and checking them much more than twice, keeping an eye on print counts, shipping notifications, and release dates. But all of this will be made easier if you start ordering now.

We won’t be able to guarantee any books arriving in time for Christmas starting probably in November. So if you want a specific book for a specific someone–order it now or in October. Even if it’s not out yet–pre-order it now so we know how many to order. Start thinking about what to get aunts and nephews today and get your orders in tomorrow. Stash them in your closet and be one of those ridiculously prepared people who finish their present shopping before Halloween. We applaud those ridiculously prepared people and hope that all of us can emulate them this year.

If you’re not sure what to get your uncle or niece and need time to browse or get recommendations from one of us, we are working on a system that will get you some one-on-one time with a bookseller to help. Keep your eyes on this space and on our social media for announcements on how we plan to better facilitate your holiday shopping. But for now–we ask that you start thinking about the holidays now. Start ordering. Start pre-ordering. Get the books you want now so that they’ll be here in time to make it under the tree. We’re going to do everything we can to get you as many books as you want in time, but you can help us by ordering early.

If you have any questions, you can always email us at If there’s anything about the book industry you’d like us to explain or be more transparent about, let us know. If there are any books you’re concerned about not being able to get, hit us up now. We’re here to help and make your holidays as smooth as possible–even if that means thinking about the holidays a little earlier than normal. The snow outside is encouraging this sort of thinking–we might as well all hop aboard the sleigh.

Thank you all so much!
Happy reading!
–the Staff at OFB

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