Kindle, Nook, and surfing the net are among the various factors affecting the paper industry.
Ed Kniep III, Chairman of the Board of SKH Paper, writing at Columbine Printing’s website comments on three trending topics in the world of paper and print.
According to the Printing Industry of America, at its peak there were 54,000 printers in the US and today the number is approximately 30,000. It is projected that 23,500 will survive by 2020. These survivors will adapt to new digital printing technology and with full service marketing incorporating data management, printing on different substrates, connecting digital media, mailing services, design and customer specific requests. Printing is alive and well and the survivors will grow and prosper.
Between 2008 and 2012 in the US, 60,857 truckloads on Uncoated Free Sheet paper were taken out of production. These tons included offset, forms bond, envelope, text, cover, writing and tablet. Surely the Great Recession was responsible for many of the machine closures. But this trend was going on before 2008 with the internet replacing the need to print everything from newspapers to bank statements to newsletters to annual reports. The small paper manufacturers are gone, but the large producers like Domtar, International Paper, Boise and Georgia Pacific continue to make product and will prosper in the future.
The organization called Two Sides has stated that the US paper and forest industries employ 900,000 people. Of course these people are not just involved in the manufacture, distribution and export of printing papers. They are also involved with tissue, towel, packaging, containerboard, boxboard, specialty papers and many timber products. It is estimated that these 900,000 earn $50 billion annually. As our economic recovery moves forward, the number employed will grow and remain an important part of our economy.