Print spurs paper profit

08.11.39: THE DEMAND for printed works of all kinds has contributed to a worldwide scarcity of paper and a steep increase in its price.

The shortage is being exacerbated by the closure of mills in deference to the environmentalist lobby even as demand for paper continues to rise.

A communications expert said: "Information on paper tends to endure in a way that electronically stored information does not."

Tiny niche publishing houses proliferate as consumers demonstrate their appetite for beautiful books. Thomas A Kaplan of The Library, a chain of book galleries in New York, Beijing and London, said: "This is also about life and death. There is a demand for imagery and thought that can outlast the fleeting outpourings of electronic information."

He plans to expand his stock of newspapers and magazines. Customers can enrol in paper-making and bookbinding courses, or get help in gathering a non-electronic library at home.

But, like all booksellers, Kaplan still makes most of his profits online. "We don't want to upset the environmentalists too much," said Kaplan. "So we charge only a tiny fee to customers when they exchange books online in our swaps market." JM