Every year from Thanksgiving to the end of Christmas holiday shopping season, it is the busiest time of the year for most American bookstores, but this year Jamie Fioko, owner of “Flying Leaf Bookstore” in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is worried.
In previous years, one-third of the annual sales of “Feiye Bookstore” were completed in the shopping season at the end of the year. However, due to the US tariffs imposed on China and Canada, the situation facing bookstores this year is quite severe. Fico’s other identity is the chairman of the American Booksellers Association. Her worries reflect the common plight of more than 2,000 independent bookstores in the United States represented by the association.
Regardless of the strong opposition at home and abroad, the U.S. government imposed a 15% tariff on general books imported from China, and color books such as cooking recipes, travel guides, and works of art starting on September 1. Children’s books may also be available on December 15, began to increase tariffs.
Since the US printing industry has gradually moved overseas since the 1980s, local printing capacity has been quite limited. Madeline Mackintosh, CEO of well-known publisher Penguin Random House, said that the publisher prints about 94 million books in China each year.
In the field of color printing, American publishers are more dependent on China. Louisa Simpson, vice president of the American Publishers Association responsible for global policy, said that color books imported from China currently account for 70 to 80% of the total US imports.
Mr. Fiorco said the tariffs imposed in September are putting economic pressure on publishers. In order to avoid price increases, US publishers are responding by removing inventory; however, if the stock is exhausted and tariffs are not cancelled, publications will be forced to increase prices.
Compared to large chain bookstores, Fico’s independent bookstores are smaller in scale, tight in cash flow and limited in inventory space, so they are less able to withstand tariffs.
In addition, gifts from another major source of independent bookstore profits have also been hit by tariffs.
He said many of the gifts sold in bookstores were made in China and were also affected by the tariffs imposed by the US government. “No bookstore has no products from China.”
She said that the negative impact on the shopping season this year is unavoidable, and she hopes that the two countries can reach a trade agreement at an early date to eliminate uncertainty and improve sales next year.