As you may have heard there is a worldwide paper shortage right now. The pandemic has caused slowdowns and work stoppages at paper mills around the world and pulp that would have gone into paper production has instead been diverted to the creation of corrugated boxes to meet the massive demand for home product delivery. Is this shortage affecting us? Absolutely. It’s affecting everyone who relies on paper for their operations.
Supply lines are also a mess right now, with products sometimes moving from business to business at a snail’s pace. Digital presses –like ours– have many ‘consumable’ parts, meaning that the parts are ‘used up’ as the press runs and must be replaced regularly. The primary one being, polymer pigments. In order to operate, we need a steady supply of pigment and other consumable parts. We’re getting them, but not always timely.
Presently, we DO have paper and pigment. We’re printing and shipping comics every day. However, the shortages and supply line issues are significantly affecting our turnaround times. Our most recent shipment of paper was three weeks late, which caused our presses to be down for almost a week. We’re awaiting another shipment that is already two weeks late.
We’re working overtime to get caught up, but the hole we’re climbing out of is deep. We were hesitant to make this statement because we hoped the problem would work itself out and –by working overtime– we could get back on track without making an issue of the problems. But the shortage and supply issues are real and aren’t getting better.
We’re still here and we’re still working to get your comics and paperbacks to you, but we ask for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through this.
So how does this affect you? For one, you’re likely to experience longer than normal turnaround times. If there is a date certain by which you need your books, then get your order in as EARLY AS POSSIBLE and be dead certain that you have followed our technical specs to the letter. If your files are not print-ready when you send them to us, then your need-by date might be impossible to meet. That said, we’ll do our level best to meet your need-by date, but please understand that even if the files are print-ready –due to circumstances outside of our control– it just might not be possible if your need-by date is shorter than our ‘standard’ turnaround time.
NOTE: if we’ve already spoken to you about your need-by date and confirmed it with you, then you don’t need to inquire again. We’ve got you noted.
(You should also take into account the slowdowns, price hikes, and general sluggishness the USPS is experiencing right now and allow as much delivery time as you can. Sorry — that’s a whole ‘nother can o’ worms.)
This has also caused a backlog of Kickstarter rewards waiting to be shipped. If you have campaign rewards that we’re fulfilling, rest assured those will go out as quickly as possible, but it might be worth updating your backers as to the slowdown.
Finally, there may be price increases on the horizon. We hate that and we’ve held the line on three paper price increases already this year, but if the cost continues to rise we’ll have no choice but to institute a small increase.
We know all of that might sound a bit daunting, but we remain undaunted. We’re accepting orders and we’re shipping comics. Every day. We just want you to be aware of the circumstances with which we’re dealing. Thanks for your continued support and we hope to continue serving you for many years to come.