Regulars here will notice that we have at last implemented a delivery cost calculator which is more equitable for the customer — and for ourselves. Delivery is now charged according to total order weight rather than our old flat rate per book, which disadvantaged those placing orders for more than one.

But this is not to say all orders cost less as a result; the perfect storm (to overdo the maritime metaphors) of Brexit and Covid has impacted us in two significant ways: Book papers are generally imported, and today cost more — by the week. Our printers now guarantee quotations for three weeks instead of six months. And the cheap but slow consolidated airfreight service we used for overseas orders is no more — it first became impossibly slow (four months was our record) and now is no longer available, due to the reduction in airfreight capacity, which is therefore restricted to costlier services. We have switched to Royal Mail’s untracked service, which aims to deliver anywhere in the world in 5-7 working days, (say 7-10 including order processing by our distributor) though that may be a little ambitious just yet.

We’ve had to stop subsidising delivery to the charitable extent we were until now: UK orders remain post-free over £25 in value, but below that threshold we ask you to chip in about half our handling and postage costs, typically two or three pounds. Overseas orders are charged based on what they cost us to pack and send, but in a spirit of fairness we do apply the monetary saving they would enjoy if going to a UK address.

But we do have good news for our customers in Australia, New Zealand and North America — where most of our overseas orders are from. We now have a New Zealand distributor (Nationwide Book Distributors) so all our titles are available in the book trade there as well as online from Nationwide; you can buy nearer to home and help the environment by avoiding some air-miles. And we’re in discussion with distributors in both Australia and the United States, and hope to be signed up with both very shortly. Because the books go in bulk by sea it’ll be a few weeks after publication before any new title will be available in your local marketplace, but you can still get them online here sooner if you need to.

Thank you for reading this far, and for sticking with us. We’ll all get through these trials thanks to the pleasure I know you have in reading our books, and we have in producing them.