From Iceland — Inflation To Affect Christmas Book Market

Inflation To Affect Christmas Book Market

Published September 29, 2022

Photo by
Julia Staples

Inflation due to the current energy crisis in Europe will likely affect the prices for many consumer goods, including Christmas books, reports RÚV.

Titans of Icelandic photography combine in this discount box in the Grapevine Store: signed copies of both Faces of the North by RAX and Planet Iceland by Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson. As always, join our High Five Club to support our journalism, get discounts in our shop/tours and get the latest issue sent straight to your email.

Books are a traditional Christmas present in Iceland, therefore, many new releases happen right in time for the holiday season.

Heiðar Ingi Svansson, chairman of the Association of Icelandic Book Publishers, said that some price increases are inevitable: “The main factor is the energy crisis in Europe causing an increase in energy prices for the production of paper. In recent years, the supply of paper for book printing has also decreased due to the greater focus of paper manufacturers on producing paper for packaging production, due to the increase in online sales.”

According to Heiðar, the Icelandic publishing industry heavily relies on Northern Europe: “The increase in transportation costs around the world and the fact that the state’s reimbursement of part of the production costs is limited to printing in Europe means that it is not possible for publishers to print books elsewhere in the world. Also, environmental considerations, including the carbon footprint, play a major role,” he said.

Heiðar says that the fact that it is difficult to increase the production of book paper also has a considerable effect since a large part of the timber production in Europe is intended for export for other uses than for the production of paper. This means the time between when the book is printed and when it arrives at bookstores increases.

Publishing houses across Europe have been forced to add a special energy surcharge to their printing prices due to rising energy prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Icelandic book publishers print most of their books in print shops on the continent and are therefore faced with large increases in the cost of the publications.

“Now, however, it has come to the point where we are looking forward to a 50 to 150 percent increase in the price of print between years,” says Egill Örn Jóhannsson, publishing manager at Forlagin. “But we, at Forlagin, are going to do everything in our power to hold back price increases on books before Christmas. The Christmas book is by far the most popular Christmas gift for the people in the country, and we plan to do everything we can to ensure that it remains so.”

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