A Gift for the Green Reader
The holidays always turn out to be a mad dash for the latest, greatest in presents for family and friends. Among the clothes, video games, and gift cards is the recently and widely coveted e-reader. E-Readers are not only a convenient way to carry hundreds of books with you, they are also extremely environmentally friendly. According to a report done by Cleantech Group done August 2009, Amazon’s e-reader, the Kindle, could have an impact on the Earth’s carbon emission if they are distributed widely enough. To date, over 1 million devices have been sold. The Cleantech Group predicts sales to be well over 14 million in 2012, resulting in a 5.3 billion kilogram decrease in carbon emissions over a 4 year period.
There are some immediate drawbacks, despite the long-term results. To reach a decrease in carbon emissions of close to 5.3 kg, publishers must organize and re-prioritize the distribution of their products, rapidly adapt to the e-reader, and reduce the amount of paper books. There is also a drastic difference in carbon emissions resulting from book versus e-reader manufacturing, book making resulting in a 7.5 kg carbon emission versus the e-reader which creates 168 kg in emissions.
Despite the drawbacks, e-readers are becoming more popular. Amazon competes with Sony, LG, and Barnes and Noble for the e-reader market, and more to come, including Apple. The Cleantech Group report is also encouraging institutions to replace paper textbooks with e-readers, citing institutions such as Princeton University and Arizona State University who have already started to convert. Hooray for saving textbook money and the environment!