Art And Culture

Predicament of the Publishing Industry

Predicament of the Publishing IndustryPredicament of the Publishing Industry

Lack of high quality material and the devaluation of the national currency, among other things, have led to recession in the publishing industry, say directors of publication companies.

The crisis in the publishing industry is so serious that publications can hardly pay their electricity, gas, and water bills, ILNA reported.

“Publications that once bought 2000 reams of paper at one time are now hardly able to buy more than 20 reams,” the report adds.  

During recent years, “the vital signs of the industry have been getting weaker,” say experts, “as publication companies, both old and new, are facing financial crises.”

Publishers complain that not only the Tehran Printing Industries Association (TPIA) has not taken any measures so far to help the industry move out of recession, but the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance “has also failed to provide publication companies with financial support to overcome their problems.”

 Rial Depreciation

Citing the depreciation of the national currency rial in the forex market as the main cause of the problems facing publishing houses, the managing director of a major publication company on condition of anonymity said this had resulted in companies “now having to pay triple the amount for buying the needed machineries and equipment, at a time when their income has either decreased or remained the same.”

“Companies have no other choice but to carry on despite the current situation,” he said, adding that a lot of people in the industry “are engaged in dealership activities for survival.”

The import and distribution of low-quality raw materials, mostly by TPIA, was also cited by most publication managers as another major challenge facing the publication industry, as “the companies that used to supply the raw material in the past are no longer able to do so, due to financial problems.”

Law quality of the raw materials can also be hazardous for workers handling them, say publishing professionals.

  High Tax

High tax is another concern for those involved in the publishing industry. Quoting the managing director of another major publication company, the ILNA report says that “there is apparently no predetermined mechanism for calculating the tax for publication companies.” The number of workers in a publication firm seems to be the determining criterion in tax calculation, as per every 3 workers, the employers need to pay 20 million rials ($750) as tax, “while the amount of profit and revenue does not come into account in tax calculations.”

Collecting value added tax from publication companies was also cited by experts to be a disadvantage for the industry.

While workers at publishing industries earn a low income of about 6-9 million rials ($216-324) a month, a publication owner said their job involves working with hazardous material like hot melt adhesive and ink, gasoline and other flammable material, all associated with life-threatening risks.

Workers can barely make enough money to get by, he said.

As a result of decreased wages, the industry is now faced with lack of skilled human resources, say experts, as experienced workers are either retired or have abandoned the sector, while the youth are reluctant to be engaged.