Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Green Resolution for 2009 - Novel Places

Our journey in search of green resolutions for the new year brings us today to Novel Places in Maryland. We have the pleasure to host the owner of this bookstore, Patrick Darby.

Novel Places started 2 years ago by Patrick Darby who has almost 30 years experience in book retail. The store started as an antiquarian online store, but recently, new titles and accessories were added. The books offered by Novel Places can be found online and also at Mayorga Coffee and Green Earth Goods at Clarksburg, MD.

Novel Places is also participating in Eco-Libris' bookstores program, where customers at the store can plant a tree for every book they buy there and receive our sticker at the counter!

Hello Patrick. What is your green resolution for 2009?
My Green Resolution for 2009:
Buy bulk as much as possible to cut down the amount of packaging.

What's your green wish for 2009?
My 2009 wish is for people to reduce travel time by shopping local
(and help me and my fellow businesses succeed).

Other greetings for the New Year?
Instead of greetings, I want to suggest these 2 recently released
books, "Greentailing" and "You are Here", available through Novel Places.

Greentailing and Other Revolutions in Retail: Hot Ideas That Are Grabbing Customers' Attention and Raising Profits
ISBN - 0470288582

You Are Here: Exposing the Vital Link Between What We Do and What That Does to Our Planet
A leading environmental journalist travels to the most fragile places on Earth to show how what individuals do at home affects people, places, and things across the globe.
ISBN - 0061580368

Any other plans for 2009 you would like to share with our readers?
Plans are continuing (slowly) to build an eco-friendly bookstore.

Thanks, Patrick!

To learn more about the books available at Novel Places, please check their website at

So far on "My Green Resolution for 2009":

Erica Caldwell of Present Tense

Bart Babek of

Angela Wieck of EcoBrain

Author Amy Guth of the Pilcrow Lit Fest and So New Publishing

Dr. Anne Hallum of the International Alliance for Reforestation (AIR)

Surendra James Conti of East West Bookstore

Jennifer Taylor of GreetQ

Bill Roth, author of "On Empty (Out of Time)"

Vonda Schaefer of Valley Books

Madeline Kaplan, author of "Planet Earth Gets Well"

Chris Flynn of Torpedo

Edain Duguay of Wyrdwood Publications

Raz @ Eco-Libris

A green comment on the rise of self-publishing

The NYT had an excellent article yesterday about self publishing ("Self-Publishers Flourish as Writers Pay the Tab", Motoko Rich), showing that while traditional publishers are struggling with the slowing economy, self-publishing companies are doing very well.

According to the article nearly 480,000 books were published or distributed in the U.S. Alone, up from close to 375,000 in 2007 (figures are from the industry tracker Bowker).

So POD self-publishing companies such as Blurb, Author Solutions, LuLu and others are flourishing, which is great news, but is it also good news for the environment?

Well, the basic answer is that POD is an eco-friendly printing system in comparison with the regular printing system that produce a lot of waste - in 2006 more than 1 billion books, or 25% of the books produced, weren't sold and some of it ends eventually in landfills, not to mention all the wasted resources (as well as costs). When you print on demand, there's no such thing and you always sell what you print.

Self-publishing is a a small niche - according to the article, Author Solutions sold a total of 2.5 million copies last year, which is a fraction of the total number of books sold (around 3 billion books). Still, it's a growing niche (Author Solutions represented according to the article 19,000 titles in 2008, nearly six times more than the number of titles Random House released last year) and a one that will get more and more attention, and therefore we hope to see more and more self-publishers who go green and adopt eco-friendly practices, including greater use of recycled paper.

It's true POD is not for everyone and it also has its disadvantages, but all in all I'm happy to see it growing and I think it benefits the whole industry by making publishing a more open and creative industry. I also hope to POD will contribute to make publishing more eco-friendly.

Raz @ Eco-Libris