The State of Paper

Since May of 2017 we’ve experienced unexpected and historic changes within the Paper Industry. 3 months into 2018 we continue to see activity that suggests that these industry realities will continue throughout the year and perhaps for years to come. We want to share with you, as best we can, what is happening within our collective industry.

What is happening within the Paper Industry?
  • Paper making capacity continues to be taken out of the market place in North America.  This overall reduction has affected Uncoated Freesheets, Coated Freesheets, Coated Groundwood and Uncoated Groundwood.
  • Capacity reduction since May 2017 combined with what is expected to shut down later in 2018 and 2019, will result in significantly less availability of paper for the industry.
  • As partners, we need to meet this reality head-on and work together to manage supply and demand to minimize any disruption to your business.

Uncoated Free Sheet Coated Free Sheet Coated Groundwood Uncoated Groundwood
Reduction in Capacity as a % of Market Demand 15.8% 20.0% 23.1% 48.7%

(source: RISI, Company reports, Publications)

What is Thomson-Shore doing to ensure paper availability for my titles?
  • We have a long-standing and solid relationship with all of our Paper Merchants and Paper Mill partners. We speak on a daily basis to manage demand and forecasted demand.
  • We have many years of paper usage data to refer to with our paper partners that we continue to use together to ensure paper availability for this year.
  • We have been “ahead of the game” in hedging any risk within the last 3-6 months with our Paper partners. We’ve increased our inventory papers and at our Paper Merchants to ensure availability. This practice will continue until there is stability.
  • Communication with customers of known projections as we actively work to ensure paper availability. Any publishers expecting significant print runs this year should be talking to us now so we can ensure your paper will be secure and ready when your print window opens up.
  • The summer of 2018 is expected to be a highly active year for book printing with many major title releases happening across multiple markets. Planning now for titles due to print in the summer and fall is critical to our collective success. With proper planning and communication, we are confident that paper will be secure for your printing needs.
What is the outlook on paper prices for the remainder of 2018?
  • Paper prices remain unstable and are expected to rise. Since May 2017 we’ve experienced multiple rounds of paper pricing increases.
  • Based on our daily communications with our Paper partners, they are projecting more increases coming in 2018. We will work hard to communicate these increases to all of our customers in order to provide ample notice before they go into effect.
  • Please consider buying paper now for future print needs. If you are interested in this option, please contact your sales representative.

We are hearing from our other printers and many book publishers that paper is extremely difficult to procure and some printers are not able to complete orders on time or to full quantity because of this. Due to this concern, we have been talking with our paper suppliers for months and we are confident that we will maintain proper paper supplies to manage your print requirements. In short, we will work hard with our valued paper suppliers to ensure you do not have to worry. Although these are challenging times, we believe that with good communications we will protect your needs for printed books in 2018 and beyond.

Thank you,

The Employee Owners of Thomson-Shore