Published: 01st April 2022
Textbooks and notebooks to become 30% costlier from today in Tamil Nadu. Here's why
With the price of paper seeing a relentless rise, printers say they have no choice but to increase the price of books as well. However, that's not all
Consider this. The price of double-coated paper, which is often used in packaging, as book covers and catalogues, has doubled in the last one year. While it cost Rs 2,500 in 2021 per kg, it costs Rs 5,000 now. The President of the Coimbatore Printers Association, H Nazar says, "The cost of paper is increasing by the day and, hence, there are no options for us other than passing on this price hike to the consumers."
What's also hurting printers right now is the fact that it's not just paper whose price has seen a sky-high rise. It all raw materials involved in printing, right from aluminum plates to ink. "While the cost of aluminum plates has increased from Rs 700 to Rs 1,000, the cost of ink has risen from Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,900 per kg," Nazar tells IANS.
To add to their troubles, the import cost of raw paper has also increased 200 times due to the shortage of containers as India imports paper from China and the US. Balasubramanian, former president of the Federation of Paper Traders Association of India, said, "The paper arrives in 45 days from China but takes 60 days to arrive from the US and if there were adequate containers, the volume of paper arriving would have increased, leading to the necessary quantity of raw paper. This is also another reason for the increase in prices."
Making matters worse, domestic paper mills are hiking their rates, following an increase in the price of pulp and chemicals. Before COVID struck, the cost of paper would be adjusted every six months. However, the pandemic has now ensured that costs fluctuate every day. It simply cannot be accepted, says Balasubramanian. Such fluctuations are resulting in losses for domestic paper manufacturers.
One such supplier is K Senthilnathan, who is one of the biggest distributors of books in Tamil Nadu. Regretfully, he says, "For us, there is no choice but to go for a steep hike and pass on the increase in prices of raw materials to the consumers. The price hike will be effective from April 1."