Dear Readers, it seems too many of my publisher’s letters start with the words, or the thought, “What an interesting world.” I am certain we all would like the opportunity to return to a business climate resembling normalcy. Well, we ain’t there yet.
Because of supply chain disruptions, I know many manufacturers are working hard to find solutions to deliver their products. We are no exception.
The Evergreen paper mill [Pactiv Evergreen Inc.] closed, which represents a 13% market share of the type of paper used in publishing short run magazines like ours. This will result in the expected changes impacting delivery and pricing for that specific product. The good news is since your subscriptions are requested and free, you won’t see a price increase. In the current situation, neither will our advertisers.
What you will see is a possible variance in paper weight and coating type. We will do everything within our power to continue offering a quality product and meeting the higher standards we have endeavored to uphold over the last two years and get issues out on time.
As with all challenges, this also creates opportunity. We are in the process of launching the improved digital versions of our magazines and our new websites. The articles are formatted to be read on smartphones and tablets, not in the flip book (let’s pretend we are a magazine because we have no imagination) style. We are also working on ways to incorporate the printed ads into the digital issues and unveiling improved versions of the Buyers’ Guides.
We will continue to innovate and grow. If the paper seems different temporarily, it is what we needed to do to get the magazines to you on time. When the paper market returns to normal we will go back to the heavier and higher-quality paper we moved to two years ago.
Lastly, please see this as an example of what happens when the labor force is reduced and shut downs disrupt the supply chain. The paper cost between the Source Book and the September issue of Rural Builder increased by 14% in just two weeks. This is the same situation all industries have been facing for the last 18 months. It is time to open up and get back to normal.
Whether you believe in masks and vaccines is unimportant. What is critical is we find a way to open and get people back to work. Hiding has never been and never will be an actual solution to any challenge.
Regardless of the destination, life is a one-way street and the direction is forward.
Gary Reichert, Publisher