The Top 30 Book Manufacturers
The second major shift we have noticed is the impact of the overall economy on our industry and China. Increased fuel prices are making the “China alternative” less attractive to publishers, as has the modest adjustment in the Chinese currency. Paper and labor prices are also impacting the Chinese pricing structure, so the gap is narrowing. We are aware that there are some publishers “rethinking” the amount of work they are sending to Pacific Rim manufacturers. That would prove to be a significant and positive shift for domestic suppliers.
Bill Upton: The first trend [I see is] digital short-run printing. This has been a hot topic of conversation in the industry for a number of years, but it’s no longer something that is “on the horizon” or just a small niche in the market. POD [print-on-demand] and digital short-run printing are now integral components of the inventory-management strategies of most publishers. …
The second trend [is] the increasing interest we’re seeing from publishers in using paper certified by FSC [Forest Stewardship Council] or SFI [Sustainable Forestry Initiative]. I think this is a very positive trend, both for the environment and for the book industry.
… In the U.S. and Canada, we have, in fact, been renewing the wood that we harvest. But to ensure that this continues, we need to know that the wood we use for our paper comes from sustainably managed forests. FSC and SFI provide that assurance. In the past year, many printers, including Malloy, have obtained chain-of-custody certification from FSC and SFI, which enables us to display the logos of those organizations in the books we print. This lets the public know that the products we’re supplying to them are made from environmentally friendly materials.
How is the price and demand for paper affecting the market?