Paper Price Spike Causes Concern Among Publishers
As if publishers didn't have enough trouble. Advertising revenues, circulation and overall magazine size are still trending downward. The only thing that seems to be trending up is the price of paper. Some saw it coming, but it happened so quickly that almost all are concerned.
Paper prices have been flat, even declining slightly, for the past few years. But over the past couple of months, they have suddenly leapt upward.
"We're seeing prices go up 5 to 10 percent," reports Andrea Baron, manufacturing manager of American Express Publishing in New York. "We're certainly concerned about it. [But] it's not a shock—we were expecting it, and we did budget for it."
Catalogers have seen a rise as well. One national consumer catalog company has seen a 25-percent increase in paper prices in the last few months and expects a larger increase in the coming months.
Another company, Catalogs by Lorél—which creates and produces catalogs for a variety of clients—has also seen prices rise, but is relieved that another increase has been slower to come than anticipated. "This $3/cwt paper increase does seem to be a reality, with no indication of being scaled back or rescinded," says Dawn Flook, the company's director of catalog production. "However, we have seen a reprieve from the original projected increase date of June 1 to July 1. This has given us the chance to work with our suppliers to extend pre-increase pricing considerations for projects printing in July and August."
Even book publishers are seeing a spike. "I work primarily with two book printers … In April, I saw a flat 5-percent increase across the board [at one printer]. All the stock went up. I haven't seen the latest prices from the other printer yet," says Deborah Bruner, production and design manager for Cornell University Press in Ithaca, N.Y.