Friday, August 31, 2007

The greenest and coolest student in class

Let's say you come to class with ruler or notepad made of recycled materials. Wouldn't you like that they won't be only green, but also will be well-designed, and more than that - wouldn't you like everyone to know that your ruler was once 3 plastic cups??

Well, now it's doable. Remarkable, a UK company, offers a wide range of office supplies that are well-designed, made of recycled materials, and it is written on each of the items they sell what it was in its previous life. They make recycling not only green, but also cool and fun. Their philosophy, as they say, is "to create recycled items that are well-designed, great quality and a joy to own."

Now, who can resist showing off everyone in the class that their pencil was once a CD case, or that their mouse pad is made of recycled car tires??

Check out what they have to offer here.


Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

goodbye paper tickets, welcome e-tickets

Triple Pundit brings us very good news: The global airlines body IATA will stop using paper tickets and will move entirely on electronic ticketing from June 1 next year.

Giovanni Bisignani, director general of IATA told Reuters that in just 278 more days, the paper ticket will become a collector's item. We were pleased to hear from Bisignani that this changeover will save about 50,000 trees a year!!

Now, all is left to do is to ask all the passengers to print their electronic tickets on recycled paper..


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The eat well guided tour of America

At Eco-Libris we love pies and that's why we were happy to read on Treehugger the story on Sustainable Table.

Sustainable Table , an educational group that celebrates the sustainable food movement, educates consumers on food-related issues and works to build community through food. Now they're on a road trip, searching for the best pie in America.

Now they're going in a biofueled bus and taking the scenic (and delicious) route to this year's Farm Aid Concert at Randall's Island in New York City on September 9. Their road trip across the country is in search of the best pie ever, and they are stopping along the way to check out some of the nation's most sustainable farms and restaurants.

Check it out on their website and join them if you can to support local and sustainable food and of course to enjoy America's best pies!

We'll keep following this journey, so we'll know where to find the best pie ;-).


btw - i just saw that they New York Times had today an article on the tour in the Dining Out section.

Friday, August 24, 2007

SolFest, Green Publishing, and a mini interview with Stephen Morris

And this time it's Eylon, guest-blogging for Eco-Libris from sunny and green California.

SolFest at the Solar Living Institute in Hopland California, was being promoted as “The Greenest Show on Earth” and I have to say that it was impressive. Thousands of people, good music, excellent food (I just had to get the combo plate from Amma's Kitchen's,) several big tents with ongoing workshops and lectures, and many many vendors booths with everything green under the sun.

One session in particular had my Eco-Libris spider sense tingling. The “Green Publishing”session with Stephen Morris, promised to explain about new technologies that “have made both book and magazine publishing more accessible than ever,” and to examine “the opportunities and the pitfalls of starting a local publishing “empire.”” I just had to go and report back, thus awakening my dormant journalist persona.

Morris has a very impressive track record in green living and green publishing. He was involved in the set up of several successful organizations, in publishing both in Chelsea Green, and recently in his own The Public Press. But more central to his presentation was his involvement in the publication of the Green Living journal, a quarterly publication, serving the “friends of the environment,” with an interesting multi-local and sustainable business model, that aims at bringing local news back home.

Since we're talking about a business model here then the first thing to ask is what is the problem being solved exactly? According to Morris, local news aren't local anymore. Dedicated local publishers experience a burn out based on lots of work and low returns and end up being gobbled up by national entities. Advertising money is siphoned out and outside interests are coming into the local reporting.

Green Living is based on a licensing model where a local publisher can get a license to publish a local edition of Green Living in their locale. Currently there are two editions being published. The original Vermont edition, going on for more than a decade, and the more recent Southern Oregon/Northern California edition. By acting as editor-in-chief, and providing administrative services to the local editions, Morris manages to cut on some expenses and provide the local publishers more time to focus establishing relationships locally in order to serve it better as far as localized content, and selling of advertising. According to Linda Pinkham, the licensee for the Southern Oregon/Northern California edition, she broke even by the 2nd issue and went into profit by the third. This is apparently unheard of in local publishing.

Some of the content is original but most of is re-used by permission of the original publishers and authors. When a certain local edition requires more content on specific topics, Morris supply it to the local publisher. For example, Pinkahm found out that in Oregon she is serving a growing community interested in green building.

Since I managed to miss Morris at the booth at the show I had to resort to e-mail to clarify some questions I had:

Q: How did you choose to publish a Southern Oregon/Northern California edition specifically?

I received an inquiry from Linda Pinkham for editorial work. She is a former Managing Editor for Home Power Magazine. I am familiar with the territory from my days with Real Goods. I was looking for a test location that had a high environmental consciousness, but one that was far enough from our home turf in the Northeast, so that if it didn't work out, it wouldn't hurt the core business. I wasn't quite ready to expand, but Linda was such an ideal candidate that I held it out as an option. The rest, as they say, is history.”

Q: What do you see as the minimum geographical region size or demographics that could support a local edition?

The geography will be different everywhere. You can probably find more "friends of the environment" within 5 miles of Berkeley than you can find in the entire state of (not meaning to pick on them) South Dakota. In general a population of 125,000 is enough to support a local edition of Green Living Journal.“

Q: Do you have any upcoming new local licensees lined up already?

We've just signed on to do a new edition in Northern Vermont. We have had inquiries from another 50 people around the country, but we do not want to expand until we're convinced we've debugged the mechanisms to support multiple editions.“

Q: Since you provide the licensees with a lot of the contents, where does their creativity come into play?

From their suggestions about what topics are hot and deserve coverage; from their selection of which article that we provide that they choose to run; to their comments on cover images; to new voices that they develop from their areas; to what they write in the Publisher's Page ... Those with no creative input need not apply.“

Q: What is the personal profile of the new independent publisher?

All over the map. We've had expressions of interests from recent college grads looking for entrepreneurial activities to energetic retirees looking for a means of doing something more closely aligned with their beliefs to community leaders looking to enhance the "green profile" of their locales. The only commonality is that these people all consider themselves 'friends of the environment.' “

Q: You mentioned 16,000 copies are printed for each edition. How many would you say are actually picked up and read? Where do the rest go?

100%. If we find remaining copies from the previous issue we pick them up and distribute them at the events we attend. (We just handed out over 1000 copies of the Southern Oregon/Northern California edition at the Real Goods SolFest. I can't think of a more fuel-efficient means of distribution.)”

Q: Green Living is printed locally, with soy based inks and on recycled paper, and that is great, but do you see magazine publishing moving away from tree based paper anytime?

Never say never, but I don't see us abandoning the paper edition any time soon. It's still the best way to present printed information. We've put a lot of effort into reducing our overall carbon footprint, however, from electronic invoicing to posting stories on our website so they are accessible for people who prefer getting their information that way. The whole idea behind our localization strategy is to produce and distribute as efficiently as possible. The backbone of our business are the small, local enterprises who are environmentally responsible. We want the dollars generated to stay right in the community.”

Q: How can any of this be applied to book publishing? Or do you have a different vision for that?

We have a book publishing division called The Public Press. Here the goal is very different from Green Living because we are exploring the economies of scale, but SMALL scale. Our goal is to produce the right amount of product for the demand, and no more. Conventional publishing rewards the economies of large scale and is characterized by extraordinary amounts of waste. We may never have a best-seller, but you won't find our books filling up the landfill either.”

Till next time...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

balancing out rented textbooks

It seems that everyone is getting prepared to school/ college/ university and so is Eco-Libris.

Today,, a leading local student marketplace and provider of the revolutionary textbook rental service, (, announced the launch of a new program "Chegg for Trees", where it partners with Eco-Libris to balance out textbooks that will be rented via this service. The good news are that we already balanced out 500 textbooks!

This is a great program that both reduces the costs of students on textbooks and contributes to the environment by planting trees, and Eco-Libris, which aims to make reading more sustainable, is proud to be part of it.

Sooo, students, whether you're a freshman getting ready for your first year, or a graduate student on your way to Masters or PhD - don't forget to check out this site,, see if you can rent some textbooks, and save money and help the planet at the same time ;-)

You are welcome to take a look at the news release that was issued today by

And of course, good luck to all the students out there!

Friday, August 10, 2007

releasing books at is a great way to exchange books - it's creative, fun and eco-friendly.

It is the world's biggest free book club and more than that, it's a community of book lovers who are willing to share with others great books after they have read them, instead of just putting them back on their shelves. The goal of BookCrossing as they write it on their site is to make the whole world a library". Well, they already have 577,368 members and 4,122,405 registered books, so they're on the right way!

So how it works? they have 3 simple steps:

1. Read a good book

2. Register it on their website (along with your journal comments), get a unique BCID (BookCrossing ID number), and label the book.

3. Release it for someone else to read (give it to a friend, leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, "forget" it in a coffee shop, etc.), and get notified by email each time someone comes here and records a journal entry for that book. And if you make Release Notes on the book, others can Go Hunting for it and try to find it.

We, at Eco-Libris love the concept of BookCrossing. We think that it's a great way to maximize the usage of books that are already printed and hence decrease the need in more printing. Therefore, more people using BookCrossing means less trees will be cut down and we're definably for it!

We try to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, so we joined BookCrossing, with a unique promise: we will balance out every book we release and put our sticker on the sleeves of each one them! So far, we released 7 books to the wild (well, actually in NYC). It was really fun and I felt great putting the books in the subway or in a phone booth hoping that someone will find and enjoy them. And actually someone did! I was very excited to hear that one of them ('We were the Mulvaneys' by Joice Carol Oates) was already been hunted.

We'll continue to release more books this weekend. The books are by the way second hand books and we try to choose interesting ones.. so, this weekend, again in NYC, there will be 3 books that will be released by me - check out this link for more details on them.

I am not sure yet where I'll release them, but open your eyes and if you see a book sitting by itself with a note saying 'I'm not lost' and a sticker of Eco-Libris - that's one of our boys!

I'll keep you posted after I'll release them and of course, don't forget to check out and join BookCrossing.

have a great weekend,

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Small steps, big strides

Yesterday the New York Times revealed that Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, is driven 22 blocks by SUV to catch the subway to City Hall. Still, I think the fact he's taking the subway at all is an important example to the people of New York, and though it might be done better, he should be praised (or at least a hug here and there) for his consistent effort. I wish other mayors will follow him.

At the same day, I saw an ad on the Times of PlanYC, Bloomberg's environmental vision and plan for New York's near future. The plan includes targets such as reducing the carbon emissions of the city in 30% by 2030.

The ad I saw was part of a marketing campaign that calls New Yorkers to take an active part in this plan. On their website, it's written that Mayor Bloomberg cannot reach the target of reducing emissions without the New Yorkers, and calls them to make a difference.
There's a list on this page of ten easy tips how to do it. It also emphasize that some of these tips will not only save emissions, but will save you money. For example, tip no. 4: unplug chargers and appliances when not in use.

My favorite is tip no. 10: switch to paperless bank statements and online bill paying. It's a fairly east step and saves many trees and toxic air pollutants! According to the site, if every home in the US viewed and paid bills electronically, the country would save 18.5 million trees and avoid 2.2 billion tons of toxic air pollutants.

The spirit of NYC is definitely the spirit of Eco-Libris - people have the power to make a difference, and the steps they take accumulate and make an impact. Like they say on the GreenYC page: "Each New Yorkers small steps, put together, will add up to big strides".

Here's one of the campaign's videos. Check it out.


Discovery Communications buys

The big news these days are about the acquisition of Dow Jones by Rupert Murdoch, but the green world has big acquisition news of its own. Environmental Leader reported yesterday that Discovery Communications acquired, maybe the most influential and significant green website.

According to the article, TreeHugger will become part of Discovery's Planet Green, a multiplatform initiative that will launch a 24/7 eco-lifestyle TV network on 2008.

It was quite obvious that the influential TreeHugger will be a target to acquisition by one of the media moguls that try to increase their presence in the growing green media. I am sure Discovery will benefit from this deal and the only question left open is if TreeHugger will remain independent and innovative - two things that assisted him in leading the green blogosphere until now.

Oh, and by the way, TreeHugger reported this week for the first time on Eco-Libris. We were very excited about it. Still, it's the most popular green website with 1.4 million unique monthly visitors. So, is it just a coincidence that both events happened at the same week? ;-)

Good luck to all the good people of TreeHugger in their new home!