This Thursday, March 24, the members of the National Chamber of the Mexican Publishing Industry (Caniem) will meet at the LVIII Annual Ordinary General Assembly of Affiliates, which will be the opportunity to close another cycle in the presidency of the chamber, the which from March 2019 and until 2022 fell to the responsibility of engineer Juan Luis Arzoz Arbide.
This newspaper talks with Arzoz Arbide as a cash cut of a period of administration that, according to the engineer, were three surprising years.
“We entered March 2019, which was painting to be a good year, and it was indeed. In the first months there was a growth of 5%, which for this market is very important. But the pandemic came and split us in two, ”he acknowledges.
Although not all the steps taken during this period were small or simply steps in reaction to the various inclemencies of a health emergency like the one that still plagues us. One of the favorable developments was the exponential growth of electronic commerce.
Arzoz Arbide points out that before the pandemic in Mexico there were only 18 e-commerce sites, but at the end of the year there were 80 e-commerce sites. “We launched a great campaign to encourage online sales and I think that will stay, there will be no way it will be lost.”
Another good news, he shares, is that the business with the Ministry of Public Education (SEP) for the sale of copies to libraries was reactivated at the end of last year after this link remained frozen for two years. “I think the SEP is trying to help in that sense,” he acknowledges.
The trade in pirated books, which in our country accounts for almost 50% of the total book trade, is one of the main struggles that the new presidency of the Chamber will have to continue. “We are trying to have a representation through CeMPro with the authorities. But it is a very important issue, it is about organized crime and it is not just anything.
Regarding the increase in the price of the book, on average 40 pesos at least until the end of last year, the outgoing president declared: “what happens is that the paper is very expensive, it has risen between 40 and 50% and, beyond of the price, there is a huge scarcity of paper that is hitting directly on the price of the book”.
Among the measures that publishers have taken, he shares, has been the rationalization of some print runs according to market demand, but, he remarks: “right now the main problem is getting paper. It is not so much that it is expensive but that it exists, because its availability is extremely limited. It is a very special market situation”.
He explains that one of the factors in this scenario is the conversion of the paper industry towards the manufacture of materials other than white paper, such as packaging, with bags, packages and envelopes.
—Would you have liked to preside over the Caniem in another not so adverse period?
“When it touches you, it touches you and that’s it. I think it was a great personal learning. We had to reinvent ourselves in many ways and I dare to say that the balance is positive. I think we did a lot of things as a camera in favor of the publishing industry and those are going to be maintained beyond the moment we’re going through.”
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