China is facing some serious problems with COVID. Health officials stated the entire situation is “grim and complex” amid a dramatic rise in daily cases. Out of 31 provinces in China, 28 have reported coronavirus cases since the past week. This has dramatically affected the global e-reader supply chain. The vast majority of e-readers in the world are produced in China. We have heard from contacts in the industry that everyone is working from home right now and nothing can be shipped out. DHL, FEDEX, China Post and other carriers are not shipping packages at all. I was told that it will be at least a week before shipments will happen again, but this might be wishful thinking.
Many companies in China such as Onyx Boox, Boyue, iReader, iFlytek, Bigme, Hisense, Hanvon, Huawei and others have shuttered their offices and all of their staff are working remotely. They meet daily to coordinate their businesses and to talk with distributers. Due to their production factories being closed, there is no way that new e-readers and digital note taking devices are being made. All office parks, subways, buses and other transportation systems have been shuttered until further notice.
Delivery drives who pick up packages and skids from warehouses to transport to the airport are working in a very limited capacity. There are strict guidelines on how they can operate. All Cross-boarder drivers have to bring a negative test for COVID, that was taken less than 24 hours before picking up anything. All ports for fright moving overseas have strict quotas on how many drivers can be unloading shipments at any given time. The duration of customs clearance has increased greatly, there is a priority on moving perishable goods to feed people, rather than shipping out consumer electronics.
How does this whole situation effect Good e-Reader? Our online store sells hundreds of e-readers and e-notes. We have ample supply and inventory of most of our items that we sell and ship everyday. Every week we get hundreds to thousands of e-readers from China, through our logistics hub in Hong Kong. This has stopped due to the recent outbreak, nobody is shipping us anything. Nobody really knows how long the country wide mandate for everything closing will last, but it could be weeks. If you have placed an order and saw that a tracking number was generated, but hasn’t been transported to the airport yet, now you know why. New orders that are placed on our online store will be shipped out soon as possible. All of our Chinese suppliers can’t send anything out, but we will let everyone know when this changes. From what I am told, this time next week, everything should be back to normal, but we really don’t know.
We will likely see stock shortages on popular brands such as the Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Onyx Boox or Tolino in the coming days. Some people have already said that new Paperwhite orders are delayed by a week or more.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.