New paper price warnings

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Alarms sounding in many parts of publishing’s value shift — and across many markets — point to a deepening crisis.

Production of printing paper. In many global book markets, publishers are facing pricing and supply issues that seem to be getting worse in many cases. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Industry View

By Porter Anderson, Editor | @Porter_Anderson

“Dramatic price increase”

AAmid new inflationary signals in Germany, the executive committee of the Federal Association of Printing and Media raises concerns about paper prices, which are weighing on the publishing industry in many parts of the world this summer.

German producer prices overall jumped at their fastest pace on record in July, according to Miranda Murray and Paul Carrel for Reuters Berlin today (August 19) – something that will certainly be a topic heard throughout the Mass at Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 19 to 23). After all, the paper crisis, from shortages to soaring prices, is

“Producer prices – a leading indicator of inflation – jumped 37.2% on the year,” Murray and Carrel report, “the biggest rise since records began in 1949,” as the announced the Federal Bureau of Statistics. “The month-over-month rise of 5.3% was also the highest on record.”

And at Börsentblatt today (August 19), our colleagues report the words of Wolfgang Poppen, editor of the Badische Zeitung and President of the Printing and Media Association.

“We have now reached a point where we need to ensure that the print business is still profitable given the dramatic price increases,” Poppen warned.

Partly, he says, because newspaper, magazine and book publishers would have little opportunity to pass on rising paper costs to readers or advertisers. “For the German press landscape, this is now a serious threat,” says Poppen.

He added that the digital acceleration towards non-paper products – a pace exacerbated in part by the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – is not reducing print’s appeal to consumers, but a growing digital orientation “reduces accessibility for readers and endangers freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” according to Börsenblatt’s reporting on Poppen’s view.

Wolfgang Poppen

“We’ve seen that many of our customers have reached the economic limit of being able to sustain price increases,” Poppen said. “Printed brochures remain one of the most important sales tools for attracting the attention of a large number of customers to offers. Especially in times of rising prices, they are an important source of information for consumers when planning their own purchases.

“So it’s unfortunate to see that more and more printers are complaining about order cuts,” Poppen says, using observations developed in a survey his team conducted.

Poppen and his team are calling on papermakers to meet promised delivery levels, Börsenblatt’s report says, especially after unexpected price hikes for “graphic” papers used for printing books and other media.

In a parallel report published today by Peter Dennis in the trade magazine Waste-Resources Circular, it is mentioned that even the European market for “recovered paper” – recycled materials – is looking at a 25% drop, which means that packaging producers in Europe are struggling as demand for packaging products dive. (There are two major paper production streams, one that produces paper from wood pulp, the other is the reclaimed/recycled production model.)

“For the month of August, each of the German packaging plants has announced a reduction in recovered paper from 20,000 to 50,000 tonnes, which is almost 15% less than the normal levy. In addition, several paper mills have advanced or extended their required inspection and shutdown periods.

There’s an irony here, in that during the deepest shutdowns of the pandemic, many paper producers had worried about consumers’ “flight to digital,” which meant less demand for paper, only to discover that the demand for cardboard shipping box production had exploded, just in time.

Many global markets face cost crisis

Image – Getty iStockphoto: Industry View

In Bangladesh, an article from Saturday August 20 reports that “Academic and creative book publishers, who have already braved two years of turmoil during the COVID-19 pandemic, are now facing a new difficult period due to the rise in paper and ink prices as well as printing and binding costs.

“We have now reached a point where we need to ensure that the print business is still profitable given the dramatic price increases.”Wolfgang Poppen

Kamrun Nahar Sumy in NewAge Bangladesh writes: “Paper prices have skyrocketed in recent months,” according to Indian publishers who say locally produced 80 GSM offset paper now costs 2,800 Bangladeshi taka a ream, up from 1,700 to 1,800 taka in April .

At Irish Times, Laura Slattery reported on Monday (August 15) on the “surge” in newsprint prices, a reflection of the book industry’s struggle. The “graphic papers” needed for quality printing in the book industry are only part of the growing concern.

Clearly this is an issue that ripples through international book publishing markets, it is telling to remember that it was October last year that at Vox introduced consumers to the idea of ​​buying holiday gift books early. She covered everything for lay consumers, from the recovery NPD followed in printing demand, to the loss of major printing presses in the US market, pulp shortages, labor shortages and such issues. shipping complexes shared with many unassociated industrial sectors across the economy.

It is this story in which we have found one of James Daunt’s best (and generally) wise comments on his unique position as head of Barnes & Noble and Waterstones. “The thing for bookstores is that we’re amplified for books,” he told Grady. “So if we don’t have a book for you, we certainly have plenty of alternatives for you.”


The cost of doing business – the book publishing industry – is set to be one of the many topics covered in the B2B-focused Publishing Outlook Forum we are producing at Frankfurter Buchmesse (19-12). October 23) the first two days of the show week.

You will find the details appearing as soon as we can announce them here.

The extensive Forum program will be open to all trade visitors and exhibitors at the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 19 and 20, with key professionals from the international industry appearing from 10am throughout the day.

And follow our special section on Frankfurter Buchmesse here, updated daily with stories and features relating to the 74th edition of the fair and its rapidly growing cohort of over 4,000 exhibitors from over 80 nations.

More information on industry statistics from Publishing Perspectives is here, more on the German book market is here, more on paper costs is here, and more on book sales is here.

And MOre on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident member of Trends Research & Advisory, and was named International Business Journalist of the Year at the London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards. He is editor of Publishing Perspectives. He was previously associate editor of The FutureBook at The Bookseller in London. Anderson was a senior producer and anchor for CNN.com, CNN International and CNN USA for more than a decade. As an art critic (National Critics Institute), he has collaborated with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which is now owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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