Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kindle's Princeton Pilot not a Success

By way of Treehugger we learned about the results of a recent pilot program in Princeton University, using Amazon's Kindle e-reader device in place of books. Apparently, less than 2 weeks after 50 students were given Kindles to use in three of their courses, they were not satisfied.

It seems that while e-readers may have arguably come a long way as an alternative for reading books, at least the Kindle is far from being a suitable tool for academic learning.

From the Daily Princetonian:

"I hate to sound like a Luddite, but this technology is a poor excuse of an academic tool," said Aaron Horvath '10, a student in Civil Society and Public Policy. "It's clunky, slow and a real pain to operate."
Horvath said that using the Kindle has required completely changing the way he completes his coursework.
"Much of my learning comes from a physical interaction with the text: bookmarks, highlights, page-tearing, sticky notes and other marks representing the importance of certain passages -- not to mention margin notes, where most of my paper ideas come from and interaction with the material occurs," he explained. "All these things have been lost, and if not lost they're too slow to keep up with my thinking, and the 'features' have been rendered useless."

So, not there just yet. However, clearly e-book readers and the companies that manufacture them have been insinuating themselves into the future of education conversation. This pilot program is just one of similar news items such as the recently announced upcoming school library without books. What does this mean? That things are changing. This failed pilot is simply another source of feedback for the improved user interface for a device that one day will be able to provide students, their teachers and academics at large the right tools for paperless learning.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Margaret Atwood has a new book and the greenest book tour you've heard about!

Margaret Atwood is releasing a new book "The Year of the Flood", and as Treehugger reports Atwood's book tour is a very green one. It might be the greenest book tour you've heard about so far.

What makes it so green? here are some more details from the book's website:

Book tours take energy, and not just that of the author. Airplanes, trains, taxis; hotels, meals, the powering of lights and heat for events and appearances – all consume.

In an effort to keep this tour as green as possible, all those involved have agreed to make the following choices wherever possible.

  • To make the events as local as possible, by using not only local talent but also local food, organic if available.
  • The author is taking the VegiVows for the duration of the trip, with the exception of non-avian and non-mammalian bioforms once a week. Like the Gardeners, however, she will permit eggs, viewed as a sort of nut.
  • To carbon-neutralize the travel, with the help of the calculations of ZeroFootprint; to go by train when possible.
  • To choose hotels and other sleeping places that have environmental policies, whenever available.
  • To choose paper that is Ancient Forest Friendly and approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, with the help of Canopy
  • To choose CD covers that are environmentally friendly, and organic cotton only for the items in our Café Press store
  • To request the event venues to serve only shade-grown, organic, fair trade coffee, which is bird-friendly – unlike sun-grown and pesticide-sprayed, a huge destroyer of songbirds.
  • To avoid bottled water.
  • The biggest challenge for the author will be keeping the luggage to a minimum. The rules for the wardrobe will be: ONE OR MORE OF: Had it for years; organic cotton; hemp. And remember: Think pink, pack black. It dirts less.

Kudos to Margaret Atwood for her efforts to keep the book's footprint to a minimum. As you can see the book is also using FSC-certified paper so it's eligible to be included on our new green lit initiative "It's Time for a Green Book" and we hope to get it included.

Here are more details about the book:

Adam One, the kindly leader of the God’s Gardeners – a religion devoted to the melding of science, religion, and nature - has long predicted a disaster. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women remain: Ren, a young dancer locked away in a high-end sex club, and Toby, a former God’s Gardener, who barricades herself inside a luxurious spa. Have others survived? Ren’s bio-artist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers? Not to mention the CorpSeCorps, the shadowy policing force of the ruling powers… As Adam One and his beleaguered followers regroup, Ren and Toby emerge into an altered world, where nothing – including the animal life – is predictable.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting sustainable reading!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A new partnership promotes Sony Reader for borrowing eBooks in public libraries

The eBook format is is moving forward quickly - more online stores, more devices, more readers. And now it's penetrating a place that until lately was almost exclusively associated only with physical books - the library.

Sony, developer of the
Sony Reader Digital Book, has partnered up with OverDrive, the leading global digital distributor of eBooks and audiobooks to libraries, to offer readers an easier way to borrow e-books from the library. How does it work exactly? Here are some more details from their joint press release:

Thousands of libraries in the OverDrive network ( offer eBooks compatible with the Sony Reader. Users simply browse or search their library website, check out their selected eBook with a valid library card, and download to a PC. Once downloaded, the eBook may then be transferred to the Sony Reader via free Adobe Digital Editions software.

...In addition to reaching new and existing patrons via the Sony and OverDrive network websites, OverDrive will train librarians on how to help patrons use the Sony Reader with their download service. OverDrive provides download services for more than 9,000 libraries, schools and retailers worldwide with support for PC, Mac®, and Sony® Reader, as well as the largest collection of iPod®-compatible audiobooks for libraries.

This collaboration looks like a win-win model and will definitely help to move forward the integration of the eBook format into libraries. I think it's an important step also in terms of keeping libraries updated and relevant in the digital age. Now we'll have to wait and see if this collaboration will be an exclusive one or we'll see future similar collaborations with Amazon and other providers of popular e-book reading devices.

If you want to check if your public library is a member of the OverDrive network, visit

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promotin sustainble reading!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bloggers and publishers: please join our green lit campaign: 1 Day, 100 bloggers, 100 green books, 100 reviews

As part of our efforts to promote green books, i.e. books that are printed using recycled and FSC certified paper, we're initiating a special project called "It's Time for a Green Book": 1 Day, 100 bloggers, 100 green books, 100 reviews.

If you're a publisher or an author that
have books that would be a good fit for this campaign, we would like to invite you to participate in it and get your "green" books reviewed.

If you a blogger and you review books on your blog from time to time, then we would like to join this campaign and review a "green" book on your blog.

The idea is to have 100 bloggers, who review books on regular basis, simultaneously publish on Tuesday, November 10 2009, their book review of a "green book" of their choice. We want to use the power of the internet and social media to promote "green" books and increase the awareness of both publishers and readers to the way books can be printed responsibly and sustainably. We hope the magnitude of this initiative will help grab readers, publishers and others' attention and get them to think about and discuss the future of books and how the "green" factor should be part of it.

How we do it? We're preparing now a list of at least 100 books that are meeting the "green" criteria (recycled or FSC-certified paper), with preference for newer books to the participating bloggers, who will be able to choose then the book they want to review (on first come first served basis). Then, we would ask the publishers to send them a review copy accordingly. Bloggers will publish simultaneously their book review on Tuesday, November 10, exactly at 1:00 PM EST.

What are the benefits for publishers/authors? This is not only a great opportunity to promote new books printed in an environmentally sound manner and make their "greenness" more recognizable, but also an opportunity for publishers to get further recognition and appreciation of readers for their commitment to the environment and to green publishing.

If you want to participate or you have any questions please don't hesitate to email me at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting sustainable reading!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We have a winner on our "Living Green: The Missing Manual" giveaway

We had a giveaway of "Living Green: The Missing Manual", which we reviewed here on September 12, and we have a winner!

We asked you to share with u how your green journey begin and what was the first green step you took. We got replies with great stories and the winner is Danika, who wrote us the following:

I can't say exactly when I started becoming green. It was a process for me. It started in Marin County, CA seeing small ponds with signs that warned people not to swim because the water was toxic while birds stood in the water. Then, watching the local rock quarry grow and grow and realizing what a violent thing it is to rip the earth apart like that.

The final step was a friend's wife having breast cancer at about the same time as the first Green Festival was held in SF. I became militant about keeping myself and my family away from toxins and the Green Festival inspired me with so many ways to do so. Now I have an ecofriendly business and am producing a local ecofestival.

Congrats, Danika! You won a copy of "Living Green: The Missing Manual". We will also plant a tree for it with our planting partners and add to the book our "One tree planted for this book" sticker.

Thank you also to all the other participants in the giveaway! We enjoyed reading your stories and invite you to keep checking our blog, as we have some more great giveaways coming up.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting sustainable reading!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Green printing tip no. 16: Can green printing be done on a rush basis?

We have another tip for you on our weekly series of green printing tips, where we bring you information on green printing in collaboration with Greg Barber, an experienced eco-friendly printer.

Today Greg is discussing a question that is especially relevant for those of us who have printing job to do in the last minute, but still want to do it in an environmentally sound manner.

Can green printing be done on a rush basis?

Tip #16
Let's say you you have an urgent printing job to do and you need it ready in 24 or 48 hours. Can you still print it sustainably?

In one word: Yes! A green printer should not be any different from a regular printer and should be capable of providing you all the necessary green services even in the last minute.

Just this week, we did several rush jobs for Tony Blair and the Climate Group, for climate week in New York. We printed a 32 page brochure and a double gate fold brochure, postcards and posters. The jobs were done on time and the quality was superb, as per their group.

We used 100% Post-Consumer Waste 65# for the 32 page, self cover Programs, and for the double gate brochures , we used 100% post-consumer waste in 100# text, for the double gate fold brochures. The postcards were printed on 100# cover, in 100% post-consumer waste. All
three projects are 100% Processed Chlorine Free.

Here are couple of our capabilities which are available even in the last minute:

1. You can use Recycled or Tree Free Paper in Stock
We stock 100% post-consumer waste, recycled paper. We also can get many Tree Free papers in a rush.

2. Ability to Accept Large Files to expedite the process
Our system allows you to email us up to 100 Meg files. You just click our upload buttons and your files are attached.

3. Correct Presses
Digital presses move the fastest. We have both Igen and Indigo equipment.

In such last minute situations, it's not only us who need to work quickly and efficiently. You should be ready to do the same. Here are some tips that will help us to make it in time:

1. File Preparation
Like any rush job, it is preferable to save your files as a hi res PDF. Also, check to make sure your files have bleed, if needed. Don't impose your files. Our software does that to our preferred layout.

2. Be Ready to OK the (soft) proofs
If not, you lose valuable time. Let us know who else can ok your work.

If you have any further questions for Greg, you can email to If you have any questions you would like us to address in future tips please email us to .

Latest tips:

Green Printing Tip #15 - Are PDF files the best fit for every document?

Green Printing Tip #14 - Can directories be green?

Green Printing Tip #13 -Are you looking for back to school environmental ideas?

You can find links to all the tips we published so far on our green printing tips page, which is part of our green printing tools & resources.

You can also find further valuable information on Greg Barber Company's website -

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green printing!

A new book from Flux, "Leadership and Self-Deception" is going green with Eco-Libris

Every new title that is being released by the Norwegian publishing house Flux is a reason for celebration as you can see from their catalog. The new title that is being released today is no different.

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by the Arbinger Institute (or as the book is called in Norwegian:
Lederskap og selvbedrag - Kom deg ut av boksen) presents a revolutionary new understanding of the nature of successful leadership. Christian Valentiner, Publisher at Flux describes it as “one of the books on his list of titles that hold the potential change the world for the better”.

And of course we're proud to announce that this book, as well as all the other books published by Flux is going green with Eco-Libris, and 1,000 trees are being planted to balance out the Norwegian edition.

Here's more about this book (from the Book's English version website):

The authors show that the key to successful leadership lies deeper than a particular technique, behavior or skill. This is why so many leadership development initiatives end up failing, and why so many leaders, no matter how hard they try, are ultimately unsuccessful. The key to successful leadership lies not in what we do, but in who we are.

Leadership and Self-Deception shows how self-betrayal going against one's innate sense of what he or she should be doing for others leads to self-deception, the central player in all leadership breakdowns, relationship issues, and performance problems in organizations.

The book follows the progress of a new executive at the fictional Zagrum Corporation as he sheds his old ways of acting and learns a new, better way to lead. Leadership and Self-Deception uses vivid examples to show what self-deception is, how it operates, and, most importantly, how it can be overcome. While other books cover useful people skills, techniques, and systems of leadership, this one goes deeper, fully illuminating the source of what makes truly effective leadership.

More books from Flux:

The 100-years' Targets

The 5th Step

The Integral Vision

Dyp glede (Deep Joy): Arne Næss on deep ecology


Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting sustainable reading!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Green Book Review: An Environmental Guide From A to Z

Today we have a great book for kids, one that goes green all the way from A to Z, and which was described by Hunter Lovins as "perfect for opening eyes and minds to a better way of living."

Our book today is:

An Environmental Guide From A to Z

Author: Tim Magner

Illustrator: Aubri Vincent-Barwood

Reading grade: 3-6

Publisher: Green Sugar Press

Published on:
June 2009

What this book is about? (from the publisher's website)

By examining the elements, habitats and cycles in nature, An Environmental Guide introduces basic environmental science. Like the letters of the alphabet connect to build words and stories, the countless pieces and parts of nature weave, connect and link everything together.

With a compelling narrative and unforgettable images An Environmental Guide explores nature’s connections and brings awareness and a deeper understanding of how the world works. Even if you mastered the alphabet long ago, be prepared for a new adventure and see how, from A to Z, the beauty of nature provides air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat. Child or adult, get ready to see nature in a whole new light! Using clear prose and eye-catching illustrations, An Environmental Guide makes discovering the basics of the environment an adventure. Who could imagine nature could be so much fun for kids!

What we think about it?

The author, Tim Magner, said about the book that “our objective was to create a reading experience to inspire young explorers to open their minds to the wonders of the world and to the amazing nature right out their backdoor. If we can only get kids to unplug from their electronics long enough to give nature a chance. Nature provides all the answers we need.”

He's definitely right and this book is doing a very good job in proving this point. The presentation of the issues in the book creates a very clear picture of the world we're living in and makes children aware of the incredible world around them, which actually even us, the so called grown ups, tend to forget about or just ignore.

What I liked about this book is that although its a guide for children, it is not afraid to address serious issues like nature cycles, Darwin, energy, habitats and so on. Still, it's also a fun book that is full of staff that children are excited about, from adventures to unique animals. This combination, together with the beautiful illustrations make it such a unique and valuable book.

I also liked the fact that the book presents the kids with interesting figures and places, fro, Paolo Lugari or Jacques Cousteau to the Amazon Rainforest and Mount Kilimanjaro. It definitely helps to get children more involved and curious about nature, which is what this book is all about.

Will kids unplug from their electronics and give nature a chance like the author is hoping? I'm doubt that one book can make such a difference, but I think it has the potential of becoing a valuable tool in getting children more aware of the world around them and getting them more interested to further explore what's out there. And here's an idea - how about making this book a video game for kids (education one of course), wouldn't that be a great way to approach those who have difficulties to unplug?

Bottom line: it's recommended both for children and their parents. I would like also to mention that this is a green book literally - it's printed on a mix of post consumer waste recycled paper and FSC-certified paper.

If you're looking for other interesting green-themed books, you are invited to check out our green books page on Eco-Libris website's green resources section.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

A new collaboration with Moss Green Children's Books

I'm very happy to announce on our new collaboration with Moss Green Children's Books ,a unique online bookstore that donates 66% of its total profits to children’s charities every year.

Moss Green, which is based in the UK, was created by Mark Waterfield who wanted to help the environment and raise more funds for children’s charities.

Moss Green aims to help parents educating their children about the environment and creating a green sustainable future.
In their online bookshop you can see which stories can help your child become more aware of the natural world. And every time you make a purchase, even more money will go to children’s charities, since they're donating as we mentioned 66% of their total profits, every year.

Moss Green has joined our bookstores program and will offer to its customers
to plant a tree with us to balance each book they purchase in the store. Customers will receive an Eco-Libris sticker (made of recycled paper) for each book they balance out, saying 'One tree planted for this book'.

You're welcome to learn more about Moss Green at their website -


Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting sustainable reading!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"Nice to be Nice", a new children's picture book is going green with Eco-Libris

We're happy to announce on our new collaboration with Bella Flowers Books, a new brand of books for children.

They have just released "Nice to be Nice", the first title from its "to be" serie
s locally, with a national release to follow in late fall 2009, and one tree will be planted for every printed copy with Eco-Libris!

Bella Fl
owers Books is a green publisher - their books are printed using vegetable-based ink on 30% recycled paper, and as we mentioned a tree will be planted for every book printed through a partnership with Eco-Libris.

But it's not only that, it's also their commitment to the environment as Tamika Longino, Executive Editor explains: "Every year, more than 30 million trees are cut down to produce books in the US. So, at Bella Flowers Books, we feel an ethical responsibility to balance out what we are taking from our planet. We are in business to leave the world a little better than we found it.
If we remain true to that, profits are just part of our reward.”

Here's more about the book:

Nice to be Nice is a picture book that shows countless ways for children to be nice in their everyday lives. There are 32 pages of vibrant illustrations that show a diverse array of children in relatable situations. It features colorful illustrations of children engaging in “nice” behavior, including caring for the environment by recycling. Bella Flowers Books encourages parents to introduce their children to the concept of going green by remembering the following Dos and Don’ts:

  1. Don’t Be Intimidated. You don’t have to know everything about saving the environment in order to get involved. Get your children started by doing something simple yet helpful, like discarding trash in public places appropriately, similar to the children in Nice to be Nice.

  2. Do Make It A Family Affair. Take on a fun family project, like refurbishing an old piece of furniture or collecting old magazines from around the house and donating them to a home for seniors.

  3. Don’t Take The All Or Nothing Approach. So, you drive an SUV. Don’t abandon green efforts, because of the size of your gas tank. Find other ways to give back to the earth, like buying sustainable books and products.

"Nice to be Nice" is a great book and we're very proud to begin our collaboration with Bella Flowers Books with this book. You can purchase it at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting sustainable reading!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shana Tova from Eco-Libris

Tomorrow is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish holiday celebrating the Jewish New Year. Eco-Libris will be celebrating it with a lot of pomegranates (yummy) and a couple of honey cakes (very yummy!).

I would also like to take this opportunity and wish you all Sahana Tova on behalf of Eco-Libris. May this Rosh Hashanah be the beginning of a sweet, green and wonderful year!

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Will the new collaboration between Google and On Demand Books green up the book industry?

We've got interesting news today - Google signed an agreement with On Demand Books, making its over two million public domain titles available directly to consumers.

The joint press release of On Demand Books and Google explains that Google has agreed to provide On Demand Books (ODB), the maker of the Espresso Book Machine, with immediate access to over two million public-domain titles in the Google digital files.

If you haven't heard yet about these machines, the Espresso Book Machine is a small, patented high-speed automated book-making machine. In about four minutes it can print, bind and trim a 300-page paperback book complete with a full-color paperback cover. Its price as Tom Krazit reports on
CNET News ranges from $75,000 to $97,000, depending on the configuration.

Currently you can find the Espresso Book Machines in bookstores, libraries and trade and campus bookstores such as the University of Michigan Shapiro Library Building in Ann Arbor, MI, the Blackwell Bookshop in London, UK, the Bibliotheca Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt and the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, VT
(you can find a full list of the EBM locations here). Wired adds that On Demand Books hopes to sell 60 more printers in the next year, bringing the number of machines globally to about 90.

So our question is of course, is it environmentally friendly?

Let's look first at the FAQ part of On Demand Book's website that is referring to the question
Is the EBM an environmentally friendly technology?

Yes. Producing books at point of sale saves tons of CO2 emissions and eliminates returns and the pulping of unwanted books. According to the OECD’s 2008 publication
Sustainable Development, “Print-on-demand [the technology used by the EBM and EspressNet] uses an electronic file to produce the book in the country where it is sold, in the exact quantities needed. There is no need to transport the book from one central location, print too many copies ‘just in case,’ or store copies waiting to be sold (or destroyed).” According to a 2007 survey by the Book Industry Study Group and Green Press Initiative, the book sector emits an average of 8.8 pounds (almost 4 kg) of carbon per book produced.

They're definitely right in terms in terms of waste and transportation. As the report they quote is explaining the current model is wasteful - about 1 billion books that were printed in 2006 (or about 25% of the total printed books) weren't sold and then either returned for pulping or reach landfills. At the same time, this report is also emphasizing the fact that paper is responsible for most of the carbon footprint of books (over 60%).

So it means that even though the Espresso Book Machines can save carbon emissions as it provides Print On Demand services on spot at bookstores and libraries, it can generate a significant breakthrough if it will be using recycled paper.
Wired reported that On Demand Books suggests that book stores price the books at about $8, leaving retailers with a $3 profit after both Google and On Demand Books collect a buck-a-book fee. I'm quite positive that using recycled paper instead of virgin paper won't increase the price significantly.

Actually it can be done even without raising the price at all - here's an idea: Google, according to Wired, plans to donate its share to a yet-unspecified charity - how about using it to cover any extra cost required for using recycled paper? this way everyone is winning - Google is helping an important cause, readers get to print books on recycled paper at the same price and On Demand Books is making an important step towards making books more sustainable by significantly reducing their carbon footprint.

What do you think? I'll be happy to hear your thoughts about it.


Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting sustainable reading!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ForestEthics is fighting the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification

Two weeks ago we reported here on a new report released by ForestEthics and Dogwood Alliance.

The report, entitled "
Green Grades 2009" looked at and grades the paper sourcing policies of 12 office retail, general retail and wholesale/distribution companies. The report didn't try to hide the authors opinion on the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) saying:

"Still, there is much work to be do
ne. Some of the companies do not have meaningful paper policies, are sourcing large amounts of paper from controversial sources, and are perpetuating the greenwashing of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and other industry-driven “certification” schemes. And since most companies still have at least some Endangered Forest fiber somewhere in their supply chain, consumers should buy Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and recycled content paper regardless of where they shop."

Now, according to the New York Times, ForestEthics is moving forward to challenge the credibility of the
S.F.I. certification in court.

a Navarro reports on the NYT ("Environmental Groups Spar Over Certifications of Wood and Paper Products") about the growing debate on the validity of the the SFI certification. According to the article, the accusations against the SFI certification program are of "lax standards and deceptive marketing intended to obscure the standards and the S.F.I.’s financial ties to the forest industry."

his move might be connected with the fact that the United States Green Building Council, which rates buildings as environmentally sustainable under its so-called LEED system, will begin accepting other types of certified wood next year, as it has proposed to do pending a vote by its membership. This move can harm the demand for FSC-certified products, as this certification is much tougher than the SFI certification.

he fact that the FSC certification has more rigorous standards is not accidental. The main claim against the SFI certification is that the forest industry created a green certification system to promote their sales, as Peter Goldman, director of the Washington Forest Law Center in Seattle, the legal firm that filed the complaints explains in the article. Therefore it makes sense it will be less demanding from the industry than the FSC certification, which is more independent (although we have to mention that it includes forest industry representatives on its board).

So who's right? the lawyers of ForestEthics who claim that the SFI certification S.F.I. has confused the marketplace or SFI whose spokesman said that the certification program was sound and that it had met all legal requirements as a nonprofit?

I have to say it's impossible to demand from consumers, as well as printers and publishers, to judge this dispute. What we can say for sure is that the fact that is indisputable is that FSC certification is considered as the best practice standard for forest management.
Therefore, I believe printers, publishers and customers shouldn't compromise on less than that no matter if it's lumber, furniture, or virgin paper they're considering buying.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting sustainable reading!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Green printing tip no. 15: Are PDF files the best fit for every document?

Today we have another tip on our weekly series of green printing tips, which we publish in collaboration with Greg Barber, an experienced eco-friendly printer.

Today we are talking about a question that keeps popping up as we see more and more printing jobs transfer into digital format. Greg is discussing this trend and offering a way to combine both formats together in a way that is effective from a marketing point of view and of course is environmentally friendly.

Are PDF files the best fit for every document?

Tip #15

I see an enormous change in the way the printing business is going, with more and more print documents being offered online, as a PDF. I start to think of my fellow printers and how this will affect them.

One of the plants I partner with has lost millions of dollars in annual report printing. Just a small portion are printed and the balance are emailed to the stockholders.

PDF files are by nature more environmental as they're saving paper, ink, etc. But the question is: Are PDF files the best fit for every document?

There are some cases where I like the hard copy, and where I see an advantage for using both mediums. Take, for example my last tip on producing Green Directories.

Avi Publishing prints 100,000 digest size Directories for NYC and 100,000 for 3 other cities, called "OUR GREEN BOOK". I think the size of "Our Green Book" is perfect for a woman's purse or even a man's back pocket. If the directory was larger, I think people would not take it with them. AND, they have an electronic version that you can read online at their website, and print off your computer.

Will this eliminate the printed copy? No. Both styles will be utilized. The PDF will create the interest in the book, and will inspire the reader to pick it up at Whole Foods or Green Apple Cleaners. So, I see a definite plus for both print and electronic media.

Annual reports might be a better fit for online distribution . Many people don't read their annual reports sent in the mail. Maybe, they will spot and read them when they receive their PDF via email.

I think that ad agencies will probably use both mediums. My firm is now offering email blasts, and variable 1 to 1 marketing to keep up with the times, and, really, to survive.

If our clients want to email their message, then we want to do their prepress. We also want to do the marketing to follow that includes the printing of postcards, brochures, and other print projects, that become part of the overall package.

1 to 1 marketing gathers data on prospective clients, and emailed sales programs reach out to these prospective new clients, but when these people respond to a website we have set up, we immediately print postcards and flyers and brochures, with their name printed everywhere, and pictures of cars, jewelry, sports equipment, etc that we know they are interested in, from the up front email blast, and that does increase our print production.

By the way, we send these items out environmentally. And of course I encourage 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and environmental inks, and Green E energy, and FSC produced.

So, change with the times or you will be swallowed up. Use both mediums.

If you have any questions, please contact Greg Barber at

You can also email us requests for future tips to

Links to the last three green printing tips:

Green Printing Tip #14 - Can Directories be Green?

Green Printing Tip #13 - Are you looking for back to school environmental ideas?

Green Printing Tip #12 - How to preapre files for your next green digital run?

You can find links to all the tips we published so far on our green printing tips page, which is part of our green printing tools & resources.

You can also find further valuable information on Greg Barber Company's website - http://

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green printing

Happy birthday to Aaspirations Publishing!

Congrats to our partner Aaspirations Publishing that is celebrating its fourth anniversary today!

Aaspirations Publishing is a green publisher of Toronto, Canada that is collaborating with Eco-Libris to plant a treefor every children’s’ picture book they print. We planted so far thousands of trees for great books such as "The Micro Meanies" by Lynda Anderson and "Where the Buttercups Grow" by Shelley Meyer.

Aaspirations Publishing is celebrating its 4th anniversary with the success of the Canadian Bestseller, The Last Six Minutes by Sandra Martins -Toner and a line up of great books by their talented authors and illustrators; as well as a possible movie in the offing.

Coming soon, their mag-a-log for kids, called My Book and much more great stuff as they team up to bring the pleasure of reading books and more, to customers around the world.

So happy birthday Aaspirations Publishing! We wish them many more years of great success, with many more interesting new books and of course many more trees to be planted on their behalf.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green books!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Updates and pictures from AIR's tree planting operations in Guatemala

We just got an update from our planting partner AIR on their work in Guatemala that we wanted to share with you.

The director of AIR, Dr. Anne Hallum and a group of volunteers managed to plant over 1,500 in just 3 weeks of work in Guatemala. Not only that, but they also built four of the fuel-efficient stoves, which conserve a ton of firewood a year, each. AIR has built so far around 750 such stoves - so they preserve existing trees, while planting!

But that's not all - The more impressive figure is that the AIR staff in Guatemala planted over 207,000 trees this year with a survival rate in the 90% range!

Kudos to AIR for the great job they do in Guatemala. Their commitment to the environment and the local communities is incredible and we're very proud to collaborate with them and be part of their efforts to make a difference to the people of Guatemala.

If you want to read more about their work, you can visit their website and also read the first year's assessment of our collaboration. In couple of months we'll publish the second year's assessment with updates on our joint work with AIR on 2008-2009.

We're also happy to show you some of the pictures we got from AIR taken on the last visit of Dr. Hallum and the volunteers in Guatemala.

Dr. Anne Hallum, her daughter Rachel and Dona Elena and her granddaughter at the tree Eco-Libris nursery in Itzapa.... still growing strong with a new crop of seedlings!

Rachel Hallum and helper planting Aliso trees to fertilize family crop, in El Tablon.

Volunteers and AIR staff planting trees on Comalapa mountain side he's converting back to forest.

Don Enrique, with AIR staffer, Luis Iquique in the foreground, showing the group the reforested mountain slopes of trees from the Eco-Libris tree nursery in Caliaj (In the background you can seem remnants of a mudslide from a deforested slope. Don Enrique has planted all the way down the steep slope, to prevent such mudslides).

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Green book review (and giveaway): Living Green: The Missing Manual

Did you ever feel like you could use a good manual that will guide you on how to live green? If you do, today this missing manual is right here on our weekly series of green books reviews.

Our book this week is:

Living Green: The Missing Manual

Author: Nancy Conner

Nancy Conner
holds a Ph.D. from Brown University and is the author of numerous books, including QuickBase: The Missing Manual and Google Apps: The Missing Manual. She lives in Ithaca, NY, recently named one of the greenest U.S. cities, where she shops for organic produce at the local farmers market and browses second-hand stores. Each day, she commutes up the stairs to her home office, where she works as an author, editor, and distance educator. Read Nancy's Living Green blog at You can also find her on twitter.

O'Reilly Media

Published on:
August 2009

What this book is about? (from the publisher's website)
Taking care of the earth is more important than ever, but the problems we're facing can seem overwhelming. Living Green: The Missing Manual helps make earth-friendly decisions more manageable by narrowing them down to a few simple choices. This all-in-one resource is packed with practical advice on ways you can help the environment by making simple changes in your home routine, work habits, and the way you shop and get around town. You don't have to embark on a radical new lifestyle to make a difference. Living Green: The Missing Manual shows you how small changes can have a big impact. With this book, you will:

  • Learn how to make your home energy efficient and free of toxic chemicals
  • Discover how to reduce waste, repurpose and recycle, and do more with less
  • Build and remodel earth-friendly homes with new techniques and materials
  • Learn tips for buying organic food and what it takes to grow your own
  • Get helpful information on fuel-efficient cars, including hybrid and electric models
  • Make your workplace greener and more cost-effective -- from changes at your desk to suggestions for company-wide policies
  • Explore how to choose renewable energies, such as wind and solar power

The book also provides you with ways to connect with like-minded people and offers a survey of exciting new green technologies. Learn how you can help the planet with Living Green: The Missing Manual.

What we think about it?

At the beginning of the book the author explains what you can expect to find in it and how it fits in your green reality:

Ever since Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring sounded the alarm about the effects of pesticides on the environment, countless books have been published that show how human behavior is taking a toll on the planet. Taken together, they present a convincing argument. But even if you want to start living a healthier, more environmentally responsible lifestyle, where do you begin?

That's where Living Green: The Missing Manual comes in. Although this book gives you plenty of reasons to think about your impact on the planet, its real focus is practical suggestions for making your impact a positive one. These pages are packed with tips, ideas, and instructions for greening in all areas of your life: at home, on the road, at work, at the grocery store, and beyond.

This description is very correct. The book, like a manual, is very practical, covering many green issues, but unlike manuals it also takes the time to explain you the "why" and not only the "how".

The book is filled with tips, some of them may look a bit more obvious like "Label your recycling bins so there's no confusion about what goes there", but many are very valuable - for example: "if you ship a lot of items, don't buy foam packing peanuts. Instead , try Puffy Stuff (, an all-natural, plant-based packaging material that's 100% biodegradable".

The fact that the book is covering many green issues is its main strength and weakness at the same time. It's great to have so many issues covered in one book, including your home, energy, food, shopping, transportation, workplace and so on. It really covers almost every main activity that we can think of in green terms. It will provide you with the good information and tips, but at the same time it won't be as thorough as guides that are only focused on one issue like renewable energy at home or food.

Last but not least, kudos to publisher, O'Reilly Media, on printing the book on Rolland Enviro 100 Book, which contains 100% post consumer fibers and is manufactured in Canada by Cascades using biogas energy, and also for making it available online through the O'Reilly Network Safari Bookshelf. You can check it out there and although you might find it's less convenient to scroll the book online, it will be much easier to use all the great links the book includes.

Bottom line: Just like the book is saying - if you're looking for a manual that will help you to know where and how to begin your green journey, you will definitely find this book very useful.


We're giving away our review copy of the book, courtesy of the publisher, and of course a tree will be planted for the copy!

How you can win? Please add a comment below with an answer the following question: How did your green journey begin? What was the first green step you took? Submissions are accepted until Monday, September 21, 12PM EST. The winner will be announced the following day.

If you're looking for other interesting green-themed books, you are invited to check out our green books page on Eco-Libris website's green resources section.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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