School textbook publishers in Poland complain about rising prices and paper shortages. In September, Polish schools may run out of books.
Paper industry has many problems
The Polish paper industry has had problems for several months. The prices of wood raw materials and chemicals used in the production of paper are rising. As a result, less paper is produced and it is more expensive.
Publishers alert that some of them may have a problem with access to paper. Especially since the prices of the finished raw material have increased by up to 100 percent, compared with last year.
– There is a shortage of some types of paper on the market, and the paper mills and printing houses we work with have been signalling this to us for some time. In addition, the prices of paper on the market are getting higher every day, says Marta Brzezińska from the MAC Edukacja publishing house.
State Forest Monopoly
Increases in transport, energy and raw material prices affect almost every industry, but for paper, prices are soaring exceptionally. The paper on which books are printed, in 20 percent it is made of wood pulp.
It is a resource for which the State Forests have a monopoly. The demand for the raw material continues to grow as disposable cellulose packages are replacing plastic ones.
In the remaining 80 percent book paper is made of recycled paper. This is where the biggest problem arises, because obtaining the secondary raw material has recently become much more expensive.
Pandemic and boxes
The problem with access to paper is also due to the fact that most factories in Europe have closed their graphic paper production departments and switched to cardboard, which is used to make packaging.
Printing and newsprint was mainly imported from China. Due to the pandemic and the disruption of the supply chain, import from that part of the world has become much more difficult and more expensive.
– The only thing we will be able to do with the possible lack of textbooks is to prepare schools to run classes without them, at least temporarily. Textbooks are not needed to teach and you can survive delays without panic, says Marek Pleśniar, director of the National Association of Educational Management Personnel, in an interview with the Self-Government Portal.