The Changing of Standards
“Penguin is an operating division of a public company, Pearson Plc. At the end of the day, the owners of the company, the stockholders, expect a return on their investment. In order to meet those expectations, especially in the current paper market we are in, with rising prices, paper grade changes have been and always will be considered. I have an obligation to our company stockholders, and I cannot change our corporate paper budget,” continues Lysenko. “Due to competition, we cannot raise the price of our books, so I have to look for ways to offset any paper increases.” He notes that all costs within the company are analyzed—for example, typography, editorial, sales, warehousing and distribution, printing and particularly paper.
Lysenko believes he saves 15 percent to 18 percent in paper costs by using a 45# groundwood rather than a 50# freesheet. The groundwood costs less per hundredweight, and he yields 10-percent less consumption and saves on shipping.
Using a More Magazine-like Approach
Book publishers have started to look at cost-saving measures much the way magazine publishers have for years. Paper, postage and shipping can make up 35 percent to 85 percent of a magazine’s manufacturing and distribution costs. When paper, postage or fuel costs increase, which they often do, magazines are significantly impacted.
Historically, magazines have shrunk in size and weight when these costs rise. A standard-sized magazine used to be about 83⁄8 inches by 107⁄8 inches, whereas the new standard is 8 inches by 101⁄2 inches. Magazine publishers continue to use lighter and lighter paper, and have pushed the mills to develop brighter, whiter groundwood grades that bulk more so the magazines don’t appear so thin (and appear unsuccessful). Ultimately, they save on paper usage and distribution costs.
Also, some magazine publishers use different paper for different versions. For example, newsstand copies may be printed on a heavier, premium grade paper (to promote sales), whereas subscribers may receive copies on lighter paper. The logic is twofold: You already have the subscriber’s money and don’t need to “sell” them, and a lighter publication costs less to mail.