Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Sunday Salon: Are E-Readers Environmentally Friendly?

The Sunday
What Caught My Fancy This Week

Kindle KTH (a Swedish University) has, according to this article (in Swedish sorry), worked out that for an e-reader to be be more environmentally friendly you have to read 33 books on it. According to the article above this means that it would take you a year and a half to “earn” the environmentally friendly aspect of the e-reader. This statement made the following questions pop into my head:

1) I’ve read way over 33 books so far this year (I would have earned my e-readers environmentally neutral status in maybe June).

2) Have they calculated to environmental impact of those of us who can’t just pop into the bookstore/library on a whim? The library is a 15 minute car journey and the books store a 60 minute car journey away. I suppose for the library I could take the bus (and often do when I have other errands). But for the bookstore it is a car journey.

3) Most of the books I read are in English. My library has one (very small) shelf of English books, i.e. library not really where I get most of my books. Most of my books whether bought in a bricks and mortar store or over the internet has at some point been on a plane (environmental impact of plane=BIG). 

4) How sad is it that they either a) assume or b) have statistics that show that most people do not read more than two books a month?

5) Have they also taken into consideration other content that can be read on the e-readers? I am thinking of newspapers and magazines specifically. If these can be transferred to e-readers exclusively what would be the savings for the environment?

Although the study is undoubtedly interesting I think that the lack of good e-readers (the Kindle has just become available here and as far as I know the nook is not available at all) and a certain lack of understanding of how some people read and use their readers has sent the scientists down a faulty path. Add to that the fact that I am always sceptical of anything coming out of Stockholm, as they seem to not understand how dependent people outside of the cities are on their cars, I would like to see their figures before I consider the e-readers a bad environmental investment.


How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren. I’ve been sick all week (no bacon fever but one hell of a cold) and so the concentration required for this books, well, it just hasn’t been there.

 The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer.  Two chapters read this week. This isn’t a part of history I am very familiar with and all the complicated names make it slow going. But it is fun!

The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs. Started this book yesterday and am half way through already. Loving it!! It is funny and thought provoking at the same time.


The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (review). I have very mixed feelings about this book.

A Horse Called Wonder by Joanna Campbell (review). I read this book in an evening for the Childhood favourites challenge.

As I have been sick I have also been listening to some old favourites on audio book. Primarily the The Harper Hall Trilogy by Anne McCaffrey. I haven’t reviewed these books because I have been dozing in and out while listening.


I’m working on my lists for next years challenges. Reading other peoples lists have given me some really interesting ideas for books to read. I hope to start posting my challenge posts over the next week.

I did read one book for the Childhood Favourite Challenge: A Horse Called Wonder by Joanna Campbell (review above).

And I am currently reading the last of my books for the Fall Into Reading Challenge: The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs.

Fun Stuff

There is a great giveaway right now over at Bibliofreak. Click to Join the Great Kindle II GiveAway! and I get another entry (have I mentioned how much I really really want a Kindle?)

Another fantastic giveaway comes from Out of the Blue. She is giving away a book of their choice, for a value of up to €12 at BookDepository. It is great giveaway because it is open to the whole world (or at least to any part of the world where BookDepository ships to). Ends 6th of December.

I’m a good elf. Are you?


Aarti said...

That's really interesting about the e-reader and I really appreciate your points for clarification, too! I really hope newspapers and magazines get on e-readers soon. I think that will DEFINITELY boost their subscriber stats and keep local media in business, instead of in conglomeration with huge companies that don't always have the local focus you may want.

Anonymous said...

With an e-reader, less tress would be used for paper and less paper would be thrown away. I guess it really is an environment friendly device. But wouldn't it hurt so much to read in an electronic device? I try to read online a few books but my head aches and I can't last for more than 30 minutes.