Reading and eco-friendliness

I tweeted a link to this post by Lupa. I kind of want to expand on it from my POV, given the replies I’m getting.

The argument she’s making (which I agree with) is that an ereader is not the most eco-friendly action, buying used books is.

I agree.

Some folks are griping at me that lots of people don’t buy used books, so an ereader is more eco-friendly.

This is like saying that lots of people don’t ride bikes, so driving a car is the more ecofriendly method of transport.

Really? An ereader is a single use piece of electronics. How exactly are you going to justify that? From an ecological point of view, the most eco-friendly way to read a book is either to buy a used one or to read it on the computer (or smartphone) you already own. Or to bike/walk to the library.

Ereaders are more friendly than new, hardcover books, for sure. No argument there. Buying one ereader vs buying 20+ books, the ereader wins, hands down. But that doesn’t make it THE MOST eco-friendly way to read.

And frankly? It doesn’t provide the same experience. It’s like telling me that eating a burger is more eco-friendly than eating a steak. Sure, but the experience isn’t the same. I might cut back on eating steak, and only eat local meat, but I’m not going to switch to burgers entirely.

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One Response to Reading and eco-friendliness

  1. Fade Manley says:

    Reading used books is more eco-friendly than buying an ereader.

    But when I read used books, I’m not giving any money at all to the authors, and doing so is extremely important to me. So in my case, I bought a used ereader from a friend.

    I’m not really up to doing the math on how that works, ecology-wise.