Mar 11, 2022 • 2 min read

Paper Shortages In The USA: Here's How Mixam's Approaching This Harsh Reality

Paper mills may be feeling the pinch when it comes to supplies, but here's how we're responding to the shortages and what it means for you.

Paper Shortages In The USA: Here's How Mixam's Approaching This Harsh Reality

A national paper shortage is causing extensive repercussions for printing businesses across the USA. 


Spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us used our free time to spend more and read more. According to Publisher's Weekly, book sales soared to 751 million in 2020, increasing the demand for high-quality, premium-grade paper. But despite this demand, the disruptions within the supply chain caused by the pandemic meant that paper mills across the country couldn't sustain themselves and closed down. The print facilities that remained open noticed a trend for pulp-based packaging - and so converted to producing more in-demand items like corrugated cardboard and other packaging materials.


So why are there paper shortages? Well, even before the pandemic, the printing industry saw large numbers of the workforce leave their jobs. And when COVID-19 became mainstream news, the number of people quitting accelerated with some paper mills closing down entirely. But even the surviving printing businesses still had to endure disruptions to daily production schedules due to COVID restrictions. With production and supply chains stilted, and the price of pulp and paper increasing, the gap between supply and demand broadened. This pattern had a knock-on effect later down the chain with customers, whose confidence in businesses, big and small, waivered.

But it's not only America that's affected by the paper shortages. The crisis is also felt in Europe and around the world. The just-in-time production method, adopted by the shipping and manufacturing industries, is similar to Mixam's print-on-demand service. Despite the delays, we only print items as you, our customers, order from us, sparing both you and our business from unnecessary expense.

At Mixam, we understand that both the availability and price of paper are volatile. And as a result, we have updated our usual method of displaying a live price. So to get the best value possible for the highest quality materials, we are now buying paper on a day-to-day basis. We have reflected this change in our process and via our Instant Price Calculator. We display a guide price and then ask customers to contact us (or request a call back). We'll then provide an accurate price that will be valid for 24 hours. Our new pricing model enables us to get the latest prices to our customers fastest. This model only applies to offset orders, digital orders are not affected, but we can produce some offset orders at our sister site in the UK, where the paper situation is not so dire. We're in constant contact with our paper and production teams, discussing the options that remain available and ensuring our customers receive the best prices for their prints.

For more news and inspiration, check out the array of posts on Mixam's Blog and visit our Support section for helpful guidance and advice on all things print.


Image Credit: Pixabay and Unsplash

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