Amazon, the massive retailer that started as an online bookseller, is now deprioritizing the sale of books in favor of groceries and medical supplies, Publishers Weekly reports.
The magazine obtained a letter that the company sent to publishers and other suppliers informing them of the change.
“We have temporarily paused ordering for products that are not household staples, medical supplies, or other high demand products,” the company said. “We have extended the shipment/delivery windows for some existing purchase orders to give you more time to fulfill the order. Please ship your products toward the end of the extended window.”
Amazon confirmed the change in a blog post that reads in part, “As COVID-19 has spread, we’ve recently seen an increase in people shopping online which has had an impact on how we serve our customers. So in the short term, we are making the decision to temporarily prioritize household staples, medical supplies, and other high demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so we can more quickly receive, restock and ship these products to customers.”
The company also announced that it’s hiring 100,000 new employees.
“We also know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis,” the company said. “We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back.”
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.