The Cost of Environmental Responsibility
Crouch has also witnessed a "domino effect," where, like Raincoast, his volumes and stocking agreements lower prices for other publishers who then can use the paper and add to the collective volume—thereby creating the necessary efficiencies to keep the costs down.
According to Paperloop.com, while recycled pulp pricing can cost more than virgin pulp, it also has been equal and sometimes lower than virgin pulp. Paperloop's June figures show:
• Deinked 100-percent PCW Market pulp/contract: $590-$645 per metric tonne (delivered);
• Northern Bleached Hardwood Kraft/contract: $610-$630;
• Southern Bleached Hardwood Kraft: $600-$620;
• Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft/contract: $630;
• Southern Bleached Softwood Kraft: $610.
Budgeting for Social Responsibility
Some publishers who pay more for environmentally friendly papers find ways to justify the higher costs.
New York-based Lantern Books produces 25 titles each year—almost all of them on 100-percent postconsumer recycled paper. According to Publisher Martin Rowe, "We began our business looking to be as environmentally friendly as possible. We no longer bother looking at the costs of virgin fiber. We make sure our margins are good and our pricing adequate, and take it from there.
"We [meet our economic goals] by making sure our retail prices reflect the value of the book, we try to sell as many books as possible, and we keep other costs down," explains Rowe.
Avalon Publishing Group's California Division produces 120 titles each year. At some printers, the company pays a bit more—averaging 1 cent to 5 cents per book. According to Production Director Jane Musser, a key to success is "shopping around to different printers, and impressing upon existing printers that their investment in recycled stock is critical to keeping our business."
The company meets its economic goals by doing a cost analysis on every book. "If, based on projected sales, we're able to pay a bit more for printing on recycled paper, we try to do so," says Musser. "There are some books where any additional expense isn't possible. Getting bids from a range of printers gives us a better idea of who's got what kind of paper at what kind of prices."