From TCK Publishing:
Is your love of books hurting the environment?
Every year we trash more than 16,000 truckloads of books that were never even read once. That’s enough books to fill both the British Library and the Library of Congress twice.
The sad truth is that around 10 million of the trees that are killed to create books die in vain each year, because the books end up getting destroyed instead of being read.
“The book industry is hurting the planet through inefficient manufacturing, distribution, and forecasting,” said Tom Corson-Knowles, CEO of TCK Publishing, an environmentally friendly book publisher based in Indianapolis. “Part of our responsibility as citizens of the planet is to be aware of when things we love might have unintended consequences.”
TCK Publishing is calling on publishers and readers to:
- Become aware of the detrimental environmental impact books make on the planet
- Discuss the problem and propose solutions
Book Publishing’s Environmental Problems
The publishing industry hurts the planet in several ways:
- When a traditional large book publisher decides to release a book, they estimate about how many copies they’ll sell, and then add a margin of error. Most of the time, though, those tens of thousands of copies don’t all get sold. Books often get left in the publisher’s warehouse without ever being ordered or shipped to customers.
- If a bookstore can’t sell its copies, it’s entitled to request a full refund from the publisher. However, shipping books is expensive. So instead of sending the books back, bookstores often rip the covers off and send only those back to the publisher as proof that the book has been taken out of circulation. Those damaged books are often pulped: ground up, mixed with certain chemicals, and recycled into paper for other uses.
- The paper recycling process involves a lot of energy (typically generated from coal, natural gas, or other fossil fuel sources) and also a lot of chemicals like bleaches and solvents meant to break the paper down so that it can be cleaned, processed, and made into new products.
- Printing books is environmentally expensive. Paper manufacturing is the third-largest user of fossil fuels worldwide, requiring significant amounts of oil and gas at many phases of the process of turning trees into books.
“Is that really how we want to do things?” he said.
Link to the rest at TCK Publishing and thanks to Suzie for the tip.