No more pitches. No more visits. No more phone calls. Online paper procurement portals offer alternatives to traditional paper buying. While Chris Powell, production director at New Hope Natural Media/Penton Media, says, "I am buying paper through a broker right now," she admits, "I'm always looking for ways to save more money!" In some cases, by logging online, print buyers can do everything from search for and buy paper, to researching paper market news and staying up-to-date on new product launches.
Users and vendors alike benefit by comparing prices and creating a bigger pool of potential commerce. Powell also notes, "I would consider buying it in the future, but I have a lot of concern about it. Up until a couple of months ago, we bought our paper from our printers. This was by far the easiest since it required little or no extra work on my part." She says that working with brokers taught her more about paper buying, which is why many paper companies also provide industry information online. But are people buying?
Powell similarly observes, "I've seen resistance by the larger printers to participate with online print-bidding companies. But [if these sites offer me] a healthy level of knowledge of paper buying, they could be very helpful resources. I may have access to a wider variety of papers and, depending on the volume, may get some great pricing. As a production director, great pricing always grabs my eye."
The following is a taste of what some sites have to offer:
After browsing paper types, stocks and cuts, buyers can track paper orders online by submitting a registered ID number. The site also highlights rotating specials according to style and price, and allows users to navigate through a table of contents listing all American Fine Paper products.