Due to what I have found I am reconsidering the way I am reading, how could I not? The most eco-friendly way of reading with all things considered would be a few things. One way would be to borrow books from friends. I am very good at returning them since I would want that from those books I lent out. Another is going to the library by riding a bike or walking. And another is dowloading e-books.
How did I arrive at that conclusion? Without boring you with all of the technicalities I will give you a brief over-view of what I have read.
The publishing industry is one of the most polluting sectors. You have to consider the trees cut down for the production of each book alone, the processing companies, the transport of the wood, the equipment used in logging and then in the actual manufacture of the paper. Then there are those books that are returned and those taken back due to typographical errors or errors of some sort from that particular printing. Most publishers either incinerate them, recycle them or throw them away. Hmmmmm alot to consider with just one book. Many companies are reverting to using recycled paper-which is good. However, which companies are they? And what if you do not like their books? Yikes, alot to consider from just that perspective. Also to count that over 125 million trees are cut down for this use each year. I saw the destruction in my very own yard by logers just this year and I am definately going to become a tree-hugger. This is another blog that I will write soon-dont worry!
Now, there is the e-reader devices. One factor is they are not that cheap. I myself do not own one yet, though it is on my wish list after all I have read. But, I will continue. Most companies that manufacture them use harmful chemicals in their makeup and in the batteries that they use. They also gather some materials from obscure war-torn countries. However, consider that not one tree is being cut down for the books you read. Currently e-books and e-readers have a minimal effect on the environment when all is considered. Especially now as time goes on and more and more people are buying them. It would even be more sound on the environment if publishers would print less and less books in anticipation of e-books and if they ultimately used recycled paper in their production. That would be the ideal. And if e-readers were made with envirnmentally friendly materials and possibly solor-powered-well, you get the idea. This is a new wave and we are learning as we go.
When purchasing a book, one travels to the book store. However, with the economy and the growin popularity of e-books, more and more of the "brick and mortar" stores are closing down. Therefore, one has to use more gas in traveling to the new location of stores that are still there. Do not forget the trees and if they are actually printed from recycled paper or not (There is also the process for recycling paper and the carbon print of that as well!). There is also the price of those new books on the shelves. I don't know about you, but I find them growing more and more out of my reach economically! I find myself online purchasing used books at Amazon, rather than newly printed books. I am even selling some of those books that I am parting with. Some books I have read over and over again-and others, not so much. I need to make room for the other books I plan to own in some form-which is one of the reasons why I like the e-reader idea and how it can store thousands upon thousands of books! Yipee! I like that. I am not the type to purchase books to sit on the shelf to get dusty so someone visiting will think I am an intellect. Ha! I just want to read them and I could easily fill my house with them-I do not care what they look like either as long as they are good!
There does need to be some way. One must also consider the author themselves. We need to find a way to keep up with this mass change in the reading industry to fairly compensate the writers themselves. Writer's work hard when they write and just like any other job-should receive their pay check. It is only fair. However, again more and more people are cutting the purchase of new books out of their budget or putting it off all-together. When people buy books now they are buying second-hand, used, or borrowing them from friends. There is also the increase of the e-book. The prices make them at least worth a try to those addicted readers like myself-who yearn for their new read. I love classics as well and history-so new is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to books! When the cost of the e-book is so low, one wonders how the writers will be paid. Will it turn away potential writers of the future in having them wonder if it is even worth writing as a career? I often wonder about that. I love to write and just want it out there for the enjoyment of others. I do not mind the low price of others but I do have children to feed and provide for with my hard work so I am learning to be creative as well. I personally do not like the incredible high price of books and was not impressed with my own novels when I saw the price of it. Yikes! How are us writers to earn a living? I could not afford my own book new if I were to purchase it. :( So, I am seriously considering writing only in e-book format. I would rather the price of my work be at a price that would encourage readers than out of reach. Many things to think about huh?
Another green way of reading and gathering information is the mighty blog-such as this. So, in looking at all I have read and all there is to read on the subject, the greenest way to read depends on the habit of the consumer. I know I will actually considers all of this next time I need something to read. Can I borrow it from a friend, if they might have a copy? Should I call the library? Should I find it second-hand on the internet or in the form of an e-book? Right now it depends on the actual book and what I need it for. I do still love the actual book when researching-all of my books are purchased new since I need the latest information on the subject (the latest evidence in archaelogy etc...). Though some books I can certainly buy second-hand when in the form of information from first-hand sources of historical events. I also fill them with my high-lighted texts and notes in the margins. Other books, I do not care about the age of the book and when it was written-I just love a good read.
Hopefully, this creates a more conscientious reader in you after reading this. :)