Saturday, 7 March 2009


Last thursday was 'world book day' in the UK and ireland. Somewhat confusingly the rest of the world celebrates world book day in April though. The book is a great format for sharing and storing ideas and the publishing process is a proven one for ensuring some sort of quality threshold and also gives access to distribution, a bit of marketing support and so on. I'm about to start work soon on a new book and every time I do so I remind myself of the impact that it does make on the environment. It still seems like ebook readers are too early stage and that most people still print off things to read rather than use their laptops. And also my books dont really sell so many copies. Here are a few figures I found:

a single average book has a carbon footprint of 4kg CO2- ecolibris
that means if my next book sold 10,000-20,000 copies it could double my carbon footprint
I would have to hope that companies or sets of individuals acting on the book might make a bigger cut though

"the paper industry is the third or fourth largest source of industrial greenhouse gas emissions in most developed countries" - green press initative
the key impacts include lost of forest, manufacture and the fact that many books end up in landfill, decomposing

waterless printing is a good way to reduce the environmental impact, on top of recycled paper and good inks
I certainly aim to ensure we are minimising the impact of the physical book in carbon and other terms
In addition to the production I want to start a scheme whereby one copy gets shared among a number of readers
(we did this last time with the books given free at the booklaunch)

Anybody else got any good ideas? (do comment or drop me a mail if interested). While we are on the subject of books.

1 comment:

paul macfarlane said...

When books stop being a symbol of status (the professorial wall) we can share books that are here and now action-inspiring rather than life reference.
When i find books I really love (yours for instance) I often buy several copies in one shipment and hand deliver some to friends and associates...with a glued in sheet so people can share and share e-mails etc and keep it going. As I always say "books do no good on a shelf."