In the spring of 2021 our main paper supplier warned us that a worldwide paper shortage would soon cause interruptions in our supply. Not long after we experienced our first loss when we could not get our popular glossy paper, and this was indefinite for the time being.
We then turned to one of our partner printers but learned that they too were unable to promise what sort of paper they could print projects on. We could order the glossy paper but they warned the finished product would likely come back to us on a paper that was of equal quality, but different.
Soon our supply situation deteriorated. Backorders to paper requested replaced with paper of equal quality, then paper of lesser quality.
So what’s causing this paper shortage?
There’s the obvious elephant in the room, the COVID-19 pandemic that is wreaking havoc on supply chains, but our problem starts before that.
In the years leading up to the pandemic, the world had been moving away from paper into digital resulting in decreased demand for paper. Some North American mills shut down while other shifted to cardboard products to meet different demands.
New Orleans indie bookstore Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop does an excellent job explaining the shortage.
We’ve found that a lot of folks are having a hard time wrapping their heads around the supply chain issues, so here is a thread doing my best to explain:— Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop (@tubbyandcoos) September 13, 2021
Now the inevitable…
How is this going to effect our pricing? We absorbed 6% and 8% raises in our paper costs in April and May of this year, and are expecting a 20 – 35% increase in June.
Unfortunately yes. We are going to have to raise our prices. It’s been 5 years since we raised prices. Back in 2017 we changed our black and white print cost from $0.15 per copy to $0.17 per copy. At the same time raised the price of colour copies from $0.48 per copy to $0.50.
Raising prices is not something we do unless we need to and we hope our customers understand. We appreciate your support over the years and in the future.
Illustration provided by Frustrated Vectors by Vecteezy