Czech book market struggling with paper shortage

Manufacturing

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Publishing houses in the Czech Republic are struggling with a shortage of paper and cardboard, which, in some cases, forces them to postpone the release of planned titles. As a result, there could be fewer books in stores at Christmas and the prices of books could increase in the future, reported the Czech Radio.

The Czech book market has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID pandemic and the related restrictions, which forced the country's bookstores to close for several months last year. Now, publishers in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe are struggling with a different problem – a shortage of paper and cardboard. For large publishers, this could mean lost sales in the millions of korunas.

Antonín Kočí, head of Euromedia Group, one of the leading publishing houses in the Czech Republic, says the problem is caused mainly by rising prices of timber. As a result, his company is being forced to reduce the number of copies they planned to r elease. Although the situation is not critical, Martin Vopěnka, chairman of the Association of Czech Booksellers and Publishers (ACBP), said it could affect the prices of books in the future.

"Unfortunately, paper will definitely become more expensive. Only a significant strengthening of the koruna could offset this problem. In the next few years, this will be reflected in the price of other commodities, just as with the price of energy and everything else." According to Antonín Kočí ofEuromedia Group, the price of their books could rise by up to 20%.

Other Czech publishers also expects their prices to grow. According to data from the association (ACBP), there were some 14,117 titles printed in the Czech Republic last year, which was nearly 19% less than in 2019.

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