As we all know, the entire world is in the grip of a major health emergency, a global pandemic that makes many people ill, and kills at least 1% of those infected. Most estimates by scientists suggest 95% of the human population remains susceptible to infection, and even if a vaccine is completed this year, it may not be available widely until 2021.
Because of the many important measures all nations have taken, more or less, to protect their citizens, the world economy is now entering its most weakened state since the 1930s. There is talk of another Great Depression, especially if a second spike hits this winter.
It is in this context that, like all other small businesses, we are trying our best to keep open, and to keep supporting our authors, and customers. We would ask that you please bear in mind we are a team of mothers, fathers, brothers, aunts, sisters and god-parents, working from home, worried like the rest of you, about the health of our loved ones. Our team is facing bereavement, loss and challenge, but we did not close and we stayed open as best we could.
We do not personally deliver book orders, but rely on larger companies to assist - like all publishers, we work with printers, the mail, delivery services, and distributors, from giants like Royal Mail, Amazon, UPS etc. - therefore, and because of the severe supply chain disruptions, and lack of workers at some stages of the publishing process, and dramatically shifting costs as economies and currencies fluctuate, and paper and other materials change prices, in this unprecedented time, we can never guarantee delivery by a certain date, or that we won't need to make decisions, openly, and fairly, to keep our authors and customers best served.
In some cases, this may mean moving a launch date, or changing the format or price of a book, or looking at a new distribution method for it.
Our aim is threefold: to protect the health of our team and customers; to deliver our books on time and affordably, as best we can given the challenges; and to do what is best to keep books in print and in the schedule.
We're doing well. I am so proud of the team. But we need as always your help, as readers and writers, to see us not as some large corporate entity, but as a small family of people, facing the worst human crisis in living memory, with the rest of humankind - doing our best to do what's right, but facing wider societal delays, pressures, cancellations and chaos - because, yes, we must all be in this together.