Unless You’re a Book Fan, No Need to Read This

In the end, what I’m going to elaborate in the following paragraphs will come down to a single sentence: if you read (buy) more than 23 books per year, ebook reader is a more environmentally-responsible option.
So grab one.


[Disclaimer: ‘e-book’ is the appropriate spelling at the status quo while ‘ebook’ (without dash) is just my own attempt to make people accept it as an intact word and not an abbreviated phrase (from electronic book).]

As most of you might have realized, these days there’s a plethora of choices when it comes to ebook readers: Nook, The Kindle and iPad are several examples. Ebook readers are sexy, sleek, and they serve tremendous environmental benefit through a global surge of paperless reading. Let’s start with a couple of dazzling facts before you argue about how printed books are more convinient:

  1. The U.S. publishing industry consumes 16 million tons of paper to produce 2 billion books and it results in 32 million fallen trees annually.
  2. For every printed book you have on your shelf, you’ve produced
    4 kg of CO2 during its production process. In total, publishing companies emit over 44 million tons of CO2/year (that’s like 7,3 million cars)!
  3. Throughout Amazon and iTunes ebook sales, lives of
    1,267,200 trees were saved in 2010.
  4. Reading printed New York Times everyday means triggering the production of 700 kg CO2/year. On the average reading speed, having it online/on ebook readers will reduce the evil number to 10 kg.
  5. Directly comparing, printed books consume 3x more raw materials and 7x more water for production than paperless books.
  6. If every book bought in U.S. and Canada was digital, 49,6 million trees, 1,2 million tons of CO2, and emission from 193,000 cars
    could be saved each year.
  7. Other than trees, adopting paperless reading as a lifestyle also means saving energy during paper production, printing, book-binding, packaging materials, disposal, as well as recycling.

Some of my friends rebut this perspective by saying that ebook readers also consume certain amount of energy for its production and the reading process itself. I don’t deny such reality. Instead, I thenceforth strongly urge those who read less than 23 books per year to not buy ebook readers at all. There’s a mathematical explanation beyond that number yet unfortunately I’m not an expert who can elucidate further.

If there’s only one principle you need to uphold in being a paperless-reading supporter, it’s the fact that electronic devices will always evolve to the direction of energy-efficiency. 100 Watt light bulbs are now replaced by 27 Watt compact fluorescent lamps; so are our televisions and fridges. I believe that ebook readers will also get more and more energy efficient, while paper production will always cut trees and thus waste too much.

Printed books are indeed indispensable. However, we need to categorize ourselves (as readers) and figure out the most suitable reading-style for each of us. Those living in remote areas without electricity or employees who hardly go to bookstores do not need ebook readers. Students or book fans, on the other side, can help reduce environmental damage by start buying one.
With a price range of 130-250$, an ebook reader might be your lifetime’s best investation.

More and more people are becoming aware of the crucial importance of paperless readings. Since 2010, ebook sales are continually growing to 112% increase of trade from 2009. Even my most favorite female author, J. K. Rowling, has joined the campaign through her very own http://pottermore.com.

There’s a huge difference between being classic and conservative.
You can save a lot from converting to ebooks.

“It is my view you can’t hold back progress. Ebooks are here, they are here to stay. Personally I love printed paper, but very very recently, later than a lot of people because I’m not very technologically adept, in fact it was this year for the first time that I downloaded ebooks. And it’s miraculous, for travel and for children particularly, to carry around a thousand books in your pocket on a small device is an extraordinary thing, so I feel great about taking Harry Potter into this new medium. But I still love a printed paper book; I think you can enjoy both.” –J. K. Rowling


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s