Will the new tariffs on Chinese goods be implemented or not? Despite our President’s repeated assertion that Americans are not paying the cost of the tariffs he’s imposed thus far, it turns out that he thinks it right to delay the implementation of much of his new round till after the Christmas season, because he doesn’t want to increase the cost of the holiday for the very people he’s always telling us don’t pay this cost. “We’re doing this for Christmas season, just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers”.

Bibles and other religious books are omitted from the tariff list altogether. No doubt we can thank the “base” for this exemption. Along with iPhones certain categories of book — children’s picture, drawing and coloring books — as Publishers Weekly tells us, will not be subject to tariffs till 15 December. However all other books printed in China, including trade, education, and professional titles, are still subject to the 10% tariffs which are scheduled to take effect on 1 September. Of course, as in so many instances, the President may change his mind yet again! Stock markets around the world have become accustomed to bouncing up and down again in response to yet another volatile White House tweet. In the meantime should we look for publishers to emphasize the religious aspect of their novels and argue that they are really religious books? Much more likely, because of the rather short lead-time in book printing, orders will just be placed elsewhere. Chinese book manufacturers may be able to reduce their prices to counter this move, but when all’s said and done, where you print your book is a straightforward economic decision. This will of course only worsen the capacity crunch in the US book manufacturing industry. Look for delays.

See also Tariffs.