Delegates at the Future Book Forum in Munich hosted by Canon heard that paper prices are on the increase. Deputy chief Executive of UK printer T J International said that the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote in June has involved his company in higher costs because the bulk of its’ paper comes from Europe, and the pound has fallen against both the euro and the US dollar.
Another speaker noted that her paper supplier had increased prices twice in two months, while the Chairman of a family business in Suffolk said that the fall in the value of the pound was a challenge in what he described as an “otherwise buoyant market”.
However, some UK printers attending the conference were more optimistic, reporting that they were seeing business returning from overseas as a result of advances in print on demand technology which is making British printing “more viable”.
Oliver Makings, owner of Caligraving Ltd, said that he prints for some large American publishers, and pointed out that it is a far better choice for them to print in the UK rather than print in the US and then ship it.
Many of the delegates said that their biggest problem was keeping pace with technology, but that it also offered the best growth opportunity. Digital presses have improved considerably in the last couple of years and there is no requirement for skilled workers to set up the plates as is needed on litho machines. Indeed, one delegate cast doubt on whether anyone will still be buying litho presses in ten years’ time.
However, another attendee maintained that smaller companies may not be able to afford half a million pounds for an inkjet press. He considered that the medium sized businesses with large factories and large overheads were the ones that would be most likely to struggle.