As a print designer, I am becoming increasingly alarmed by the rise in paper costs. We’ve been hearing about it for a long time now, but it’s only been recently that I’ve begun to see it affect us here in the publishing industry.

Here at F+W, any changes we make to the specs of a book have to be approved by our Pub Board. To get this approval, we submit a spec change request to a production coordinator, who then puts together an analysis of the costs that can be compared to that of the previous specs.

Lately we’ve been seeing these revised costs skyrocket, solely because of the increase in the price of paper since the time the books were originally proposed (usually six to twelve months earlier).

Yesterday I received a letter from the CEO of Mohawk Fine Papers. The letter began with a summary of the horrendous state of our economy, and by the time I got to paragraph three, I was sure that Mr. CEO was just building a case for raising their prices like everyone else. But I was pleasantly surprised by what I read next…

“We therefore want you to know that Mohawk Fine Papers will not be raising prices on our Text, Cover and Writing papers in the foreseeable future. Our position is based in part on the success of our ongoing cost reduction efforts coupled with moderating input costs. But in addition, we at Mohawk recognize that paper and print compete with other media for advertising resources. As a privately held company, we are uniquely positioned to balance the short term pressures we all share with our long term commitment to the health of our industry.”

Mohawk could easily raise their prices… everyone else certainly is. But instead of blindly following the crowd in pursuit of more money, they looked at the big picture and the long-term effects on the industry, and then decided to take a stand. For that, I applaud them.


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