I recently bought my first box of Ilford Fiber B&W 8x10 paper. Even though the box is straight and undamaged, the entire ream of paper is curved. This seems like it will make it hard to ensure even focus and development. Is this normal? If it is, how do folks deal with this while printing?
A freshly opened box of photo paper should not curve upward. Likely the paper has stored under adverse conditions. The only way to use this paper will be to slip it in an easel that shields the borders i.e. makes prints with white borders. Such easel are the mainstay of any darkroom photo lab. If you don't have one, get one.
Agree with what's been said so far. Just as long as you use an easel, you won't have any issues because the easel will keep the FB paper flat during the exposure. Once exposed, the curvature is irrelevant during the development.