Czech Publishers Face Paper Shortage

Czech publishers are facing a shortage of paper for the production of books and therefore have to postpone the publication of some titles. There is a risk that there will be fewer books on the Christmas market, similar to last year, but this year for a different reason. According to them, the problem is throughout Europe and is probably related to the Chinese market. Paper is missing from printers throughout the Czech Republic, according to the statements by publishers to the Czech News Agency. For large publishers, the problem means a loss of sales in the order of millions of crowns. The Association of the Czech Paper Industry called a shortage of printing papers unlikely.

The problem is felt, for example, by Euromedia Group, which is one of the largest companies operating on the book market in the Czech Republic. The company is facing limited printer capacity, rising paper prices and long delivery times after ordering prints. “Even some titles are delayed by weeks to months for confirmed delivery dates. For example, printers report a shortage of cardboard, which is used to make book covers,” said Antonín Kočí, director of the Euromedia Group publishing house.

“Specifically, we have one book that will sell in the tens of thousands, and it will come on the market a month later than the normal black and white book printing deadline. This is the only case for us that means a loss of sales in the order of millions that will not take place this year.” Kočí explained. He added that Euromedia Group is a large and important partner for printers and the group is not dependent on just a few selected ones. “Nevertheless, we are not able to publish all the books we would like this year. It may happen that we will not print some successful books by Christmas,” says the director.

Ulrika Horáková from the marketing department of the Argo publishing house stated that this publishing house also feels that the printers do not have paper. It will therefore postpone the release of some titles scheduled for the fall.

“Information about the lack of printing papers seems to me to be very unlikely,” Miloš Lešikar from the Association of the Czech Paper Industry told ČTK. According to him, the consumption of graphic papers has been declining for many years, a large decline was due to a reduction in the need for printing companies in 2020. “This year, in the first half of the year, the consumption of graphic papers and cardboard increased by seven percent year on year to 221,992 tons,” he added.

According to him, the vast majority of printing papers in the Czech Republic are covered by imports. “Imports are mainly carried out by paper wholesalers, which will certainly be happy to satisfy any customer requirements and increase sales and profits. The problem nowadays is that the prices of all paper, cardboard and board, both graphic and especially packaging, have been rising recently,” added Lešikar.

So far, another big publisher, the Albatros Media group, has more or less managed to meet the deadlines. “Although we are the largest book publisher on the market and have many times this problem than other publishers, we are able to place our titles in printers and get a reasonable delivery date. We are a strategic partner for our suppliers, so we hope to promise our authors that their title will appear on the pre-Christmas market, “said Petr Baláš, director of the Albatros Media book publishing house. According to him, however, it is no exception to a situation where a title with a confirmed delivery date from the printer is delayed by a week or two. The biggest problem occurs with hardcover books, which lack cardboard for hardcover. This is also confirmed by other publishers.