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New demand for print books during pandemic

Newswatch 16's Elizabeth Worthington talked to a small book store owner in Carbon County about how people are returning to print.

JIM THORPE, Pa. — There's just something about holding a physical book in your hands. That's what Hazel Heiko loves about book stores like Sellers Books & Art in Jim Thorpe.

"I like that I can actually look at the colors of books and read the back," Heiko said. "I think it's just nice to actually see color because the Kindle I have doesn't have color."

"Every day, I have people say, 'You know, I really appreciate you being here. Thank you for having a book store. We don't have any where I'm from.' That kind of thing," said owner Randy Sellers.

When this store reopened its doors last summer after the statewide shutdown, owner Sellers saw a boom in business.

"When people were home for those months, they rediscovered reading. Reading's a really relaxing activity. It centers you, and it actually lowers your blood pressure."

But while the pandemic created a new demand for print, that comes with its fair share of supply chain issues. Booksellers are waiting longer for new books, thanks to shipping delays and paper shortages.

Sellers says his biggest problem was getting used books.

"When COVID happened, and we had the quarantine, the library sales were all canceled, and I depended on these library sales all around eastern Pennsylvania for my inventory."

A lot of booksellers are worried about not having enough supply for the holiday season. In Jim Thorpe, that's certainly a big time for business.

"Certainly, fall foliage now right into Christmas, we have our old-time Christmas here in Jim Thorpe, which is a wonderful time, so I'm already buying my Christmas books and stocking up to be ready for the shopping season."

Sellers says he's crossing his fingers that the supply chain problems don't get worse before the busiest time of the year.

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