Print publishers are currently caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of a weakening economy and higher prices for essential costs such as paper, freight, and postage.
The soft economy pressures publishers to lower prices on books, but this is difficult to do with the cost of paper at an all-time high. Gas prices have caused freight charges to rise markedly. New federal regulations make it easier for the postal service to raise rates, and another increase takes effect today.
Many publishers will respond by lowering quality — using cheaper grades of paper and cutting costs wherever possible (although eventually I think they will be forced to raise prices nonetheless). But with the web as an always available instant provider of content that is almost free to users, can print publication compete for large numbers of consumers? Another approach would be to recognize print as an exclusive product for a literati class and accept smaller print runs and higher prices.
Shown: Odysseus between Scyla and Charybdis, Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1794-1796.