Too many takeaway pizzas: The Netherlands suffers from paper shortage

Too many takeaway pizzas: The Netherlands suffers from paper shortage

The significant rise in the popularity of takeaways as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has led to a serious paper shortage in the Netherlands, severely impacting the Dutch publishing industry. 

Coronavirus: Too many deliveries, not enough paper

With everyone stuck at home in lockdown, companies like Thuisbezorgd and Deliveroo saw a significant spike in the number of takeaway orders, while business boomed for Amazon and Bol. Unable to eat out or pop to the local high street, members of the public turned to the internet to fit their needs - not just in the Netherlands, but around the world. 

You might not think it, but this boom for the takeaway and online shopping industries has various implications on a number of sectors, including the production of books. With paper being used for cardboard pizza boxes and delivery boxes, the international printing and publishing industries are suffering from a serious shortage of paper.

Printing companies in the Netherlands are also struggling to keep up with demand. “The entire paper market is completely out of balance,” says Robert Jan de Rooi, who owns one of the largest printing companies in the Netherlands. “If I want to have paper at home, such an order normally takes a few weeks. Now I have to wait four months.” 

Paper and book shortages for the Dutch publishing industry

De Rooi notes that many factories across Europe that were previously dedicated to printing books have switched industries, focusing now on cardboard boxes: “Apparently a lot more money is made in that sector,” he says.

Publishers are now concerned about release dates, as De Rooi notes delays in paper deliveries will mean publishers may have to wait a little longer for their books to be printed. The problem is that book sales continue to rise, with around 41 million books sold in 2020 in the Netherlands alone.

Anyone looking to get their hands on a new copy of the next bestseller should be aware that they may have to wait a little longer for their copy to arrive. Martijn David, director of the Dutch General Publishers Group, notes that many books may not be available for next day delivery, while Marte Kersten from publishing group VBK Media admits that the company is sometimes unable to deliver books.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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