However, because her mother is old, she still buys a block calendar at the end of the year to hang in her house for her mother to see the date conveniently. "I think that calendar makers should research the tastes of buyers, besides beautiful images, they also need practical contents, so that besides seeing the date, people can see and use these contents. I remember that there used to be a set of large-sized block calendars, on which there are cooking recipes with 365 different dishes in 365 days. Such contents are really useful and interesting," Tran said.
It is not that calendar makers do not know about this issue. In recent years, types of calendars, especially the block calendar, have always caught up with new design trends and have been printed by modern technology. Especially, the content element on each calendar is also paid special attention to by producers.
Around the end of August and the beginning of September, calendar makers usually have had to finish the printing of the block calendars to timely release them to the market. However, this year, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, that roadmap was no longer feasible because Ho Chi Minh City and some localities implemented social distancing during that time. It was not until October 1 when there was a decision to relax social distancing that calendar makers began to complete the final stages. Therefore, the calendar market of 2022 starts later than every year.
Amid many surrounding difficulties, the safe solution applied by calendar makers is to reduce the number of designs and the number of prints. This year, Thoi Dai Book Company cuts more than 40 percent of calendar designs. The print volume of each design is the same as last year, but up to this point, this unit has only reached 70 percent of its capacity. An Hao Company experiences a similar situation when the print volume is reduced by 50 percent compared to the previous calendar season. The published volume is reduced by 30 percent for regular customers, and the purchasing volume of the remaining customers also decreases by about 40 percent compared to the same period last year. “The production situation is difficult due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially a shortage of labor”, a representative of An Hao Company said.
According to Ms. Lai Thi Yen, a representative of Quang Binh Bookstore, by mid-October, the company has only produced 50 percent of the designs and about 80 percent of the output because the company is afraid that materials cannot arrive in time, as well as fail to meet the production time. "Moreover, agencies and businesses are also facing difficulties. The demand for calendars will likely decrease this year, or after the market is stabilized, around the end of November and the beginning of December, businesses will consider buying calendars to give to their partners and employees. However, by that time, calendar makers will not produce anymore, leading to the risk of lacking calendars,” said Ms. Lai Thi Yen.
Ms. Vo Thi Kieu Hanh, Director of Thoi Dai Book Company, said that this year was the worst in more than 30 years of making calendars. At present, Ms. Hanh’s company has produced 70 percent of its capacity, and the remaining 30 percent is still waiting for the market situation. "If the market situation is positive, we will produce the rest because we have already spent money and applied for a publishing license. In case the purchasing power is too weak, that part must be canceled. Now it is all up to the market. I just hope to recover my capital this year,” shared Ms. Vo Thi Kieu Hanh.
The prices of calendars, including block, wall, and desk calendars, remain at the same level as every year, ranging from VND30,000 to VND750,000 per block. However, due to the increase in production costs, especially an increase of 20 percent of the paper price, along with the low print volume, the discount for consumers this year will not be as high as in previous years.
By Ho Son – Translated by Bao Nghi
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