RÚV reports that, according to a new survey conducted by Bókasamband Íslands, some 83% of Icelandic titles are printed overseas.
This is the highest percentage of Icelandic books printed abroad to date, and marks a total reversal from just over 20 years ago, when over two-thirds of Icelandic titles were printed domestically.
Georg Páll Skúlason, the chair of the printer’s union Grafía, told reporters that he sees this as not boding well for the Icelandic printing industry and it will be difficult to reverse the trend.
Cost, as almost always, is the driving factor in this situation; it is simply cheaper to print books en masse abroad than it is to print them in Iceland. While the largest share of books printed abroad are printed in Latvia, Germany and Denmark, about 9% of titles are printed in Asia.
That said, Georg emphasises that the Icelandic printing industry offers more environmentally friendly printing, not least of all because the books in question do not need to be shipped over large distances. Time will tell if publishers will, or can, pay extra for a lower carbon footprint.
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