Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Barnes & Noble is expecting to generate $3-$5 billion from e-books sales in 2013 - is it realistic?

Yesterday, Barnes & Noble, the world's largest bookseller, reported sales and earnings for its fiscal 2010 fourth quarter and full year ended May 1, 2010.

The report is full with interesting data, but one piece of information that caught my eye was that B&N Chief Executive William Lynch said that Barnes & Noble expects to have about 25% of the digital book market by 2013, providing the bookseller with the opportunity to boost revenue by $3 billion to $5 billion.

Now, I think 25% market share may be a bit optimistic, but let's leave it aside for a moment and assume Lynch is right. I still wonder how exactly he came up with the estimate of e-books sales between $3 billion and $5 billion by 2013 - if we take into account their estimated market share (25%), it means that we talk about a $16 billion e-book market in 2013 (in average).

Given that the total books market generates now about $20 billion in sales and that the estimated market share of e-books, which is currently around 5%, is expected to be around 25% in a couple of years, I think that Lynch's estimate of $3-$5 billion in sales is very far from being realistic.

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

More related articles:
Is there a future for Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores? Is it a green one?, Eco-Libris Blog

E-Books Rewrite Bookselling, The Wall Street Journal

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Green chat with Elizabeth Baines on the final stop of her virtual book tour for 'Too Many Magpies'

We are always happy to be part of
virtual book tours of authors we work with, and today we have the pleasure to be the last stop in the virtual tour of Elizabeth Baines to promote her great book 'Too Many Magpies'.

Elizabeth is collaborating with Eco-Libris to plant a tree for every copy printed of the book. She will also be planting a tree for every copy printed of "The Birth Machine", which will be reissued by Salt Publishing on October 2010. This is also an opportunity to remind you of two other gifted authors who publish with Salt and partner with us - Tania Hershman and Aaron Fagan.

Elizabeth's tour started on May 6th at Sue Guiney's blog and since then had another seven stops in very interesting destinations (check out the tour's webpage for the full list) and we're the ninth and last stop. Since we collaborate with Elizabeth to green up her books, we decided to have the interview more focused on the green side of both her and the book. We hope you'll enjoy it.

First, here's some background on the author and the book:

Elizabeth Baines was born in South Wales and lives in Manchester. She is the prizewinning author of prose fiction and plays for radio and stage. Too Many Magpies was published by Salt in 2009. Previously Salt published her collection of short stories, Balancing on the Edge of the World (2007) which was pronounced 'a stunning debut collection' (The Short Review). In October 2010 Salt will reissue her first, acclaimed novel The Birth Machine. She is also a performer and has been a teacher. t

About the book:
How do we safeguard our children in a changing and dangerous world? And what if the greatest danger is from ourselves? A young mother fearful for her children's safety falls under the spell of a charismatic but sinister stranger. A novel about our hidden desires and the scientific and magical modes of thinking which have got us to where we are now.

And now for the interview:

Hi Elizabeth. We love the idea of virtual book tour as it's also very eco-friendly in terms of carbon footprint. How did you like it? Was it fun?

It's been great fun, Raz. So interesting to see the different things that the hosts have come up with - from probing questions that wrenched my brain to a really fun word association game! The way I think virtual tours win out hands-down over in-person tours is that the audience is potentially so much bigger, and not only that, the visit is a permanent record for anyone to visit at any time.

You're a very eco-conscious writer - why is that and how do you see it reflected in your writing?

I was born in the countryside in South Wales to a family who were closely involved with and passionately interested in nature - some of them were farmers. When I was about nine a power station was built slap-bang on that rural idyll that had been my first home, with loss of some really important wetlands, and it was obvious that the local people, including my family, had been powerless to stop it happening in the face of government decision. I felt a huge sense of grief and later anger, so I guess you could say that at nine years old my political eco-consciousness was born. That scenario appears in my first novel, The Birth Machine (which Salt will reissue in October), and these issues are so much part of me that of course they emerge in my writing all the time.

You plant a tree with Eco-Libris for every printed copy of your books. Do you have other eco-friendly habits you practice in daily life?

I use eco-friendly products and recycle. We have a compost bin. I have an absolute horror, in fact, of throwing things away when they could be somehow used again. I do love clothes, but I hardly ever buy new, and I'm always altering them for the fashions, and when they wear out I cut them up for rags! My husband John and I used to have a car each, but we decided we should only have one. This all sounds very pious, I guess, but it's quite selfish, really, as it's the only way I feel comfortable. And I don't know how I'd feel if I had to do a lot of flying...

When I think about the theme of scientific versus magical thinking, I instinctively think about global warming and how people relate to it in the current debates. How do you see it?

Yes, I think the whole issue of global warming is very much tied up with the issue of magical/scientific thinking. People tend to think of science and magical thinking as opposites, but as I said recently in an interview on the Salt website, while the truly scientific is truly rational and takes account of unknown factors, a lot of magic-wand thinking goes on in scientific/technological practice - an assumption that you can wave a scientific wand and all will be well, a failure to account for possible detrimental consequences of technology - which can lead to environmental disasters.

So we burn fossil fuels for a hundred years and fifty years and send planes up in the air for fifty and assume the atmosphere won't be affected etc... We build nuclear power stations without accounting for nuclear disaster... It's based to some extent in ignorance, and also in a selfish perspective that fails to go beyond the here and now, but it's also a failure of imagination and a childlike, wishful refusal to accept uncertainty.

I see this childlike magical thinking operating in the anti-global warming lobby, the insistence that either global warming is not really happening or that it's not the result of human activities. I accept that we can't conclusively prove that it's the latter, but it seems to me that the only mature response is to take on board the uncertainty and the possibility of our own responsibility...

The theme of nature runs throughout your novel, and I was wondering what's your take on the dissonance between the love many people share to nature and its constant misuse at the same time?

Again, I think this is linked to a certain kind of magical thinking, and it's partly to do with the fact that we've become divorced from nature. We have a romantic longing for nature, but we've lost our understanding of it. We see it as a romantic backdrop for ourselves, yet paradoxically we lose sense of how our activities intimately affect it. So we rush to the rural fishing villages of the world and turn them into acres of multistorey hotels... Romantically we believe that nature will survive whatever, so we drill so deep in the sea that we cause a massive oil spill we can't control...

Would you like to see the book published in other forms such as e-book or audiobook?

Yes, I would love that! For environmental reasons as well as the democratic possibilities. It seems to me that by cutting out the need for printing, transport and warehousing, the life of a book can be extended: books can be made more widely available and for longer. But you'll never stop me loving actual, physical books...

How do you feel about the transition from print to digital? Do you think it will also change the way books are written?

I really find it hard to comment on this. I don't yet have an ebook myself, so I don't even know about that reading experience. And I'm not sure that it would affect the writing experience, anyway. I've heard some writers say they write differently on computers from the way they did with paper and pen (because it's easier to splurge when you know you can so easily cut and paste and so there's a greater freedom) but I and many other writers find that we still have to write our first drafts by hand anyway - for that very reason, that it's too easy to splurge on the computer and then, because it looks so finished, fail to do the necessary editing.

So we're not so sure the changing technology so far has changed the substance of what we write, and I'm not sure that it will be any different when we are writing books for digitization. Although I do think that the internet and the way it favours brevity has already affected prose style: I think we favour economy in prose fiction now far more than we did, and I'm certainly more aware than ever of the need to achieve it while I'm writing.

And what about bookstores? Do you think they could survive in the digital age?

Again, it's another unknown, I think. Current trends would indicate that bookstores will die, but then who is to say that the rise of digital literature won't give rise to a new alternative market in beautifully printed books the point of which would be physical properties that you could only experience before buying in a bookshop?

Can you tell us what you're working on now?

I'm working on a kind of family saga about memory and forgetting, as well as on a new collection of stories around the theme of uncertainty (of course!)

Last but not least, I'm curious if you're a football fan in if you follow your team on the World Cup?

Oh, no, I'm not a football fan, I'm afraid! Well, not in the usual sense. I do like the camaraderie in the pubs at the moment, though...

Thank you, Elizabeth!

If you want to learn more about 'Too Many Magpies', please check the following links:

Flying with Magpies tour page:

Elizabeth Baines' podcast readings on the Salt blog:

The Salt web page for the book from which extracts can be copied:

Links to reviews of the book are in the sidebar on Elizabeth Baines' blog

A film of Elizabeth Baines talking about the novel:

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Green printing tip no. 51: Can you help us with recommendations?

We are back today 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 after a year of providing you with great 50 tips, Greg has a special request from you.

Can you recommend on green printers that print on Organic T-shirts and Organic Hats?

Tip #51

I have taken 50 weeks to write Green Printing Tips featured in Eco-Libris blog, and now I need your help.

My website has all 50 tips listed, as well as Eco-Libris. On the left side of my site, near the bottom, I have a section called Promotional Products.

I need your help this week to expand my list of green printers that feature printing on Organic T Shirts and Organic Hats.

I will add these recommendations to my website. I get so many people asking me who can do printing on T Shirts and hats, and I now have decided to reach out to you.

Don't let me down.

Have a great 4th of July and keep printing Environmentally. We have come a long way to eliminating plastic, to re routing our 100% PCW waste into new printing, saving our forests, using chlorine free bleaching, and Green E Energy.

I applaud our efforts. I thank Eco-Libris for the opportunity to reach out to all of you.

Greg Barber.

For additional information, please visit and You're also invited to contact Greg via email at

You can find links to all the tips at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting
green printing!

Green book of the week: The Real Man's Guide to Fixin' Stuff (and a giveaway!)

Today we have a book that wants to help us keeping our stuff working. Real men according to this book don't throw broken stuff to the trash or even recycle them. They fix them.

Our book is:

The Real Man's Guide to Fixin' Stuff: How to Repair Anything You Need (or Just Want) to Know How to Fix

Author: Nick Harper

Nick Harper is the author of Man Skills, and is the features editor for FourFourTwo, Britain's biggest-selling soccer magazine, and writes for Men's Health, The Guardian, Q, and FHM. He lives in England.


Published on: May 2010

What this book is about?
Real men know how to fix stuff…or at least, when something around the house breaks, it gets handed to the nearest guy to fix it. So if you don’t know a light socket from a socket wrench, this book will have you looking like Mr. Fix It in no time.
No longer will you think that something isn’t worth fixing or that it would be cheaper to replace. You’ll be able to fix: Dead remote controls, leaking showers, car scratches, weak vacuum cleaners, your lady’s busted heel or purse, and much more

What we think about it?
Nick Harper writes in the introduction to this book:

"Back in the good old days, things were made properly, pieced together with pride. Now, however, everything's put together on conveyor belts by robots (probably) and you're lucky if it lasts six months before breaking down on you.

You don't complain tough, do you? No, you just throw it away and buy a new one. And when that breaks in six months' time, you throw that away and buy a new one. And when that breaks, the sorry cycle continues: The manufacturer gets richer, you get poorer, and the giant landfill gets ever higher; It's a terrible business."

Sounds very much like the Story of Stuff, right? But unlike Annie Leonard, Nick Harper is not here to explain us the big picture, he is here to help us fix every little detail in it.

I'm not handy, I admit it. But I always wanted to know more, not to mention the envy I have in people who can fix almost everything. I want to be like them! So I was very excited to see Harper's book with the promise of learning how to become a real mean who knows how to fix stuff (by the way - what about real women? I know many women who can do this stuff much better than men - do they have a different book?).

And the book definitely keeps its promise. Although today you can google any problem you have or look for the right YouTube that will guide you how to fix it, this book is definitely a valuable resource, with tons of how-to tips that are described in a simple language. You can find there electrical stuff (fix a broken key on a computer), Kitchen Conundrums (Sharpen a can opener), Furniture (fix squeaky stairs), Garden guidance (rescue rusting tools) and more.

I haven't had the chance to try any of these tips yet, but I looked into some issues I had recently like how to fix a toilet that won't flush and I find Harper's explanations very reliable. I like his systematic approach which I find a necessity especially for less-skilled people such as myself.

In all, we need to remember that keeping our stuff working is really a win-win offer, as it's better both for the environment and the wallet, not to mention the satisfaction you'll get from knowing that you don't need to depend on anyone but yourself to keep your stuff working.

Bottom Line: If you like your stuff and you want to keep them alive more than just six months or so, this book is for you (no matter if you want to be a real man or a real woman).

Disclosure: We received a copy of this book from the publisher.


We're giving away our review copy of this book, courtesy of the publisher.

How you can win? Very simple. All you have to do is to add a comment with an answer to the following question: What was the last thing you fixed? We will have a raffle on Monday, July 5, 5:00PM EST between all the readers that will add their reply. The winner will be announced the following day.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Do you have questions to the paper comapny APP? Now you can get some answers!

Last month we wrote here about a report published by Rainforest Network Action (RAN) which connects children's books to the destruction of endangered rainforests in Indonesia.

The report explained that the connection was made via paper that was sold to Chinese printers by two paper companies, APP and APRIL, which are described as
controversial sources of wood.

Later on I read an interesting article on Environmental Leader of Ian Lifshitz, Sustainability & Public Outreach Manager at Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), entitled "Balancing Sustainability with Economic Development in Developing Countries – The Case Study of Indonesia".

I share the concerns brought up by RAN and I also don't agree with Ian Lifshitz on some of the points he made on his article. Nevertheless, I believe in the importance of an open dialogue, especially with those whom you don't agree with. I think this is an important path to achieve positive progress and that's why I asked Ian to interview him on our blog, an offer which he gladly accepted.

I was hoping to use this platform to enable other people who have concerns regarding the practices of APP in Indonesia or want to learn more about the environmental and social dimensions of the company's operations, to get their questions answered.

Therefore, if you have a question to Ian Lifshitz, please add a comment with your question to this post. We'll be receiving questions until this Friday (July 2nd), 5pm EST. The interview itself will be published here in a couple of weeks so stay tuned!

We look forward to hearing from you, so please send us your question and become a part of the dialogue with APP.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting Sustainable Reading!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Can the iPad be "green" if it is manufactured in a sweatshop?

Would you consider the iPad as environmentally sound if it was manufactured in a sweatshop? It might sound a theoretical question - I mean, can this advanced device that for many represent freedom, democracy and greater opportunities of be made in an exploiting working environment that represent for many of us the dark ages?

Well, given the latest news about Foxconn, the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer, which is the maker of iPhones and iPads for Apple, this question may be more relevant and realistic than ever.

Today, on the fourth and last part of our analysis of the iPad's environmental report, we'll refer to an important part that is actually missing from this report, but is included in another Apple's report - Social responsibility.

First, let's be clear - we believe that environmental and social performance are interconnected and the discussion about the iPad as a better option from a sustainable point of view (or "green") can not exclude the social issue. The Worldwatch Institute explained it very clearly:

"Environmental sustainability requires social sustainability... Environmentalists need to be as aware of the social dimensions of sustainability—well-versed in issues like living wages or occupational health and safety—as labor representatives are mindful of the environmental dimensions."

Now, Apple doesn't refer to the specific social impacts of each of their products separately, but provide an annual general supplier responsibility report. Apple explains its commitment as follows:

Apple is committed to ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility wherever our products are made. We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes.

Apple’s program is based on our comprehensive Supplier Code of Conduct, which outlines our expectations for the companies we do business with. We evaluate compliance through a rigorous auditing program and work proactively with our suppliers to drive change.

This is very impressive. The report itself also looks very impressive not to say progressive. It mentions for example that Apple "continued to increase the number of facilities audited for compliance with Apple’s Code, completing onsite audits of 102 facilities in 2009, for a total of 190 individual facilities audited since 2007," and that the company "implemented a social responsibility train-the-trainer program for all of Apple’s final assembly manufacturers. Since the launch of this initiative, more than 133,000 workers, supervisors, and managers have been trained on workers’ rights and management’s responsibility."

Impressive, right? Only that the series of suicidesat Foxconn indicate things in reality might be different. First, it looks a bit problematic that Apple assembles the iPad (as well as the iPhone) in a place with such a bad reputation when it comes to working standards. Li Qiang, executive director of New York-based China Labor Watch, wrote last May that "Foxconn is a sweatshop that “tramples” workers’ personal values for the sake of efficiency."

Even the China Daily Newspaper was critical and as reported on BusinessWeek it wrote in an editorial that “Foxconn may not be a sweatshop in the sense that it physically abuses its employees or forces them to work extra hours. That does not mean it is showing enough humanitarian concern for its employees. And, neither does it imply that it is doing enough to foster a corporate culture that helps employees strike a healthier work-life balance.”

The Guardian reported that "labour campaigners argue that Foxconn's mostly migrant workers are vulnerable because of their 10-hour working days and the monotony of their jobs. They say many feel isolated and pressured by a strict regime that bans them from speaking on the production line and takes them far away from their families. They argue that although the basic salary of 900 yuan (£91) per month is above the legal minimum, workers find it hard to live on and are driven to labour for 60 hours a week to gain overtime pay."

It should be noted that Apple responded quickly. reported on May 26 that Apple is "expressing sadness at the events and promising that it is "independently evaluating" Foxconn's response while also continuing its facility inspections summarized in its annual supplier responsibility progress report."We're in direct contact with Foxconn senior management and we believe they are taking this matter very seriously," said Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman. "A team from Apple is independently evaluating the steps they are taking to address these tragic events and we will continue our ongoing inspections of the facilities where our products are made.""

It might looks to you like this is the first time Apple needs to deal with such issues in Foxconn. Well, it doesn't. Four years ago, In June 2006, Engadget reported the following:

Despite recent comments by a Foxconn spokesperson that Apple had already investigated and found no problems with the Chinese factory that has come to be known as "iPod City," BusinessWeek is reporting that the probe is still in fact underway, with an Apple representative reiterating that the company takes "allegations of noncompliance very seriously."

According to spokesperson Steve Dowling,
Apple is in the midst of a "thorough audit" of the Hon Hai-owned plant, which had recently admitted to breaking labor laws concerning overtime, but which continues to deny other allegations contained in the original Daily Mail exposé. Specifically, Dowling says that the auditors are looking into "employee working and living conditions," conducting interviews with workers and their managers (separately, we hope), and generally making sure that the factory lives up to a supplier code of conduct that supposedly "sets the bar higher than accepted industry standards."

So what was the auditors' final verdict back then? Engadget updated on August 2006:

The long and short of it is Apple apparently did not find child or forced labor, learned that more than half of iPod city residents were earning more than minimum wage (and none below), and that there was no forced overtime, but it was found that workweeks too infrequently went long (as often as 35% of the time), some interim dorms for the workers sounded pretty harsh (think: rows of triple bunk-beds on a factory floor), and some workers were "made to stand at attention" when they did something wrong.

So as you can see these issues are far from being new to Apple. So why does the company continue to work with Foxconn? The answer is very simple: Low prices. Good quality.
Pamela Gordon of Technology Forecasters, a supply-chain research firm explained it on Business week:

"It's the prices. Their prices are lower for high-quality work." Foxconn won Apple's order to make the iPhone after Gou directed the business units that make components to sell parts at zero profit, according to two people familiar with the chairman's actions. Net income jumped 37 percent in 2009 to $2.3 billion, Foxconn's second-best year on record.

Wondering how cheap manufacturing the iPad could get at Foxconn? According to analysis of iSuppli the manufacturing cost of the 3G-wireless version of the iPad is $11.20.

To be fair, we have to remind that physical books production has its own social toll. The Green Press Initiative reminds us that "From the pine and spruce forests of the Canadian Boreal, to the tropical rainforests of Indonesia, there are people who rely on forests to support a traditional means of sustenance, spiritual connection, and economic development. Forests are used for lumber and commerce, gathering food and medicine, and for hunting and trapping." More information about the social impacts of the paper industry can be found in a paper published by the Environmental Paper Network. It was published 3 years ago, but unfortunately still very relevant.

So what's the bottom line? Is the iPad "good" or "bad" when we look into its social impacts? And is it better from physical books from this aspect?

We feel that there's a problem here. Apple created a very progressive code of conduct and like its environmental reports, its
supplier responsibility report is something that other companies that sell e-readers don't have. So Apple is definitely one step ahead. At the same time, it looks like in reality the iPad is being manufactured in a place where the working environment are described by some as sweatshop, while others use more subtle terms to describe it such as "tough culture".

BusinessWeek summarize it saying that "
Foxconn's suicides are a reminder of the human cost that can come with the low-cost manufacturing U.S. tech companies demand." Does it worth it? We believe the answer is no, just like it was with Nike and Gap in the past. I don't know if the answer is necessarily to move the production of the iPad back to the United States as Gilbert B. Kaplan offered lately, but there's definitely need to be a change. If the iPad wants to become a greener alternative, it needs to be made in working environment that is not exploitative.

Regarding the comparison with books - there are no metrics to use here unlike the ones you have in a life cycle assessment, but we can say that both options have serious social impacts when considering their 'business as usual' conduct.

Yet, we see some progress in the last couple of years in the paper industry, especially with the growing usage of forest management systems, including the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification that is considered the best practice. These systems are supposed to make sure that the concerns of indigenous and local communities are integrated into forest plans and assessments. And of course, growing usage of recycled paper that reduce the need to cut down trees is helpful as well.

Bottom line: No matter how low the carbon footprint of the iPad may be, or how good and efficient their recycling program is, the iPad wouldn't become a "greener" or more sustainable option comparing to books until Apple will really hold to its promise to be committed to ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility wherever our products are made. Right now, we're just not there yet.

Parts on the analysis published so far:
Part 1 - the iPad's Carbon footprint

Part 2 - Recycling

Part 3 - Materials

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting Sustainable Reading!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A new toolkit of Moon Willow Press helps publishers and authors who want to green!

Our mission at Eco-Libris is to green up the book industry and make reading more sustainable. Fortunately, we're not alone in this quest.

One of the new forces that is joined us is Moon Willow Press, a Canadian publisher that not only publish books sustainably, but also works to help other publishers to do the same. Last month we updated you that they started a campaign where 33% of the first 100 sales of their first e-book, The Little Big Town, go toward planting trees with Eco-Libris. Already as a result of their campaign, 200 trees are planted with our planting partners.

But that's not all. On April Moon Willow Press published a comprehensive toolkit that "provides backgrounder information for Moon Willow Press’s publishing philosophy, and offers tools for authors, publishers, printers, and others who want to follow responsible practices when using materials from the planet’s remaining forest resources."

This toolkit is a great tool for any publisher or author who wants to learn more about the environmental impacts of books and how they can reduce it. We wanted to learn more about it and conducted an interview with Mary Woodbury, the owner and publisher of Moon Willow Press.
Hello Mary. Can you please tell us about Moon Willow Press?
Hello Mary. Can you please tell us about Moon Willow Press?
Moon Willow Press is just an idea I have had lingering in my head for a long time. I wrote this in the toolkit, but will repeat it here: When I was little, my favorite past-time was sitting beneath a big tree, reading a book. I loved to soak up the big world around me, both imaginatively and intellectually. This picture leaves juxtaposition behind, however, in that nearly four billion trees worldwide are cut down each year for paper -- the same paper used for those lovely books we read.

I love to read, and love books, and wanted to begin publishing, but was faced with the reality that I didn't want to contrib
ute to non-sustainable forestry practices when publishing. I figured I'd follow some models, such as the Green Press Initiative's model of using only either post-consumer paper or FSC-certified paper that I know is coming from responsibly managed and renewable forests. I also wanted to make good books to read. I'm primarily interested in non-fiction that deals with environmental issues. I think it's important to educate the public about what's going on in our world. I also love fiction and poetry, so that will also be a part of my publishing plan.

What brought you to publish the Moon Willow Press Toolkit?
I started working on it as a resource for myself, and then it turned into a big project that I thought would be helpful for other publishers, authors, and presses. I had a lot of information from organizations such as Eco-Libris and many others, and just wanted to combine it all into one place.

The toolkit includes detailed information on the state of forests, especially in Canada - Were surprised of some of the information you found out?
To be honest, as brutal as some environmental facts and figures are, I wasn't too surprised. I was especially moved by how indigenous people who are so dependent on the forest ecosystems in which they live are treated so badly and have their resources and livelihoods turned upside-down. I've always had a soft spot for nature and preserving it, but social injustice tears at my heart too.

What advice you can give to a publisher who wants to go green but don't know where to start?
Well, a lot of it's common sense. Don't be wasteful, and look for alternatives when publishing or even just making decisions for your office. Remember that cost and quality of paper isn't everything. The real costs of using high-grade, non-sustainable fiber reach far beyond your pocket book.

I'm just starting out myself, and will learn a lot along the way, and hopefully can share more later. But there are so many resources on the web about responsible publishing, and a good start is the toolkit and many of the places I reference in there, such as Green Press Initiative, Eco-Libris, Canopy, and Rainforest Alliance.

Why do you think we don't see more publishers that go green? What are the main obstacles?
I think a lot of publishers don't realize that they can go green, that there are options when making paper choices. There are so many green printers out there. I think smaller-run, digitally produced books, e-books, FSC-certified fiber printing, and printing on demand are the wave of the future. At least I hope they are.

I don't think there are any huge obstacles in going green. The only one I can think of is that for large book production, offset printing may be choice and non-post-consumer or non-FSC paper might be cheaper. But again, I think it's helpful to look at the overall savings in our environment rather than a few cents in our pocketbooks. Profit isn't always wallet-based!

How real is the option to use non-tree resources for paper?
I would like to see more studies on non-tree resources such as wheat, hemp, sisal, flax, kenaf, or other vegetable fibers. As with any natural resource, we always need to think ahead for the sustainability of large production with those fibers too. I think for now using these alternatives is great at least for office solutions, like business cards and calendars. As for the production of books, more studies and trials need to take place.

Do you think bookstores can also play a role in making books more sustainable?
Yes, book stores can take initiative, along with publishing houses and authors, in extolling the virtues of books printed on recycled/FSC papers and in printing processes that are environmentally cleaner, safer, and use less resources - such as nontoxic toners or vegetable/biodegradable inks, recycled aluminum plates, totally chlorine-free processes, and so on.

I think we just stepped into the age where people will start to "get it" about our environment, with the worst environmental disaster in history having seeped to our Gulf as I write this. Everyone is going to be more conscious about our resources and dependencies. Everything from renewable energy and less dependency on oil to conservation and preservation of our endangered and declining natural resources is going to be a high priority. Once consumers realize this, I think bookstores and other industries will gain respect in the eye of the consumer by having good environmental practices, whether in manufacturing or retail.

What about e-books? When do you think we'll be able to consider e-readers as a greener alternative?
I think we should start to consider e-readers as a greener alternative, though I've only read a few studies (mentioned in the toolkit) that found e-readers less of an impact over books. The Cleantech Group, for instance, predicted that e-readers purchased from 2009 to 2012 could prevent 5.3 billion kg of carbon dioxide in 2012, or 9.9 billion kg during the four-year time period. I think more study is needed, but the e-ink technology is a wonderful one, and at least the e-book I have (Kindle DS) feels very much like a book and I consider it a replacement and buy only e-books at this point.

What's your advice for readers who want to green up their reading? What can they do?
There is so much to do! People can seek out green publishers when making book-buying choices, write to publishers with opinions on paper choices, buy e-books instead of paper books, check books out at the library instead of buying new books (many libraries now offer e-book downloads too), and also join planting programs like yours. There are book recyclers, regular paper recyclers, book donations, and so on. I would say it's important to never buy what you are going to throw away, but also never throw away a book. Donate it to charity or your local library.

After writing this toolkit, are you more optimistic or pessimistic?
I'm more optimistic. I get invigorated when I start talking or thinking about my press. In an odd way, my press is really still in the baby stage, because my first paper book won't be published until later this year, and then in 2011 I have accepted three more books for publication so far too. So I haven't done much with the press as of yet, but am very excited about it. Thanks for giving me this opportunity to talk about it. And thanks for your wonderful tree-planting program!

Thank you, Mary. Moon Willow Press's Publishing Toolkit can be downloaded at no charge at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting sustainable reading!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy birthday to Jeff Beck, Mick Fleetwood and the others who are celebrating their birthday today

What's the connection between the musicians Jeff Beck and Mick Fleetwood, boxer Jack Dempsey and basketball player Sam Jones?

They were all born on June 24! If you're also celebrating your birthday today - happy birthday to you too!

We love birthdays and therefore we're happy to remind you of the option to celebrate a birthday of friends, family members, colleagues and anyone you care about with Eco-Libris!

Eco-Libris is offering you now to plant trees to balance out the books of your loved ones who celebrate their birthday. Not only that new trees will be planted to balance out their books, but they will also receive our stickers with a beautiful birthday card made of recycled paper. And we also try to keep it affordable - the added charge for the birthday card is only $1.5.

All you need to do is to choose how many of the birthday person's books you want to balance out on our
special birthday gift page (, change the shipping address on the payment page to the address of the gift receiver and we will take care of the rest!

This is also a great green add-on if you're buying a book as a gift for the birthday person, especially if you're buying her or him a green book.

The birthday cards we send are made by
Doodle Greetings (see picture above of one of their cards). Not only these cards come with a beautiful design, but they are also eco-friendly - printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper and are made chlorine-free and acid free. Sounds like a good fit with Eco-Libris stickers!

And of course, if it's your birthday and you want to give yourself a green gift - get yourself a nice green book and plant a tree for it with us!

Happy Birthday!
Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting sustainable reading!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How green is my iPad? Analyzing the iPad's environmental report (Part 3- materials)

Today on the third part of our analysis of the iPad's environmental report, we look into the materials.

Apple announced earlier today that it
sold 3 million iPads in just 80 days, which means that a) It's fashionable and it's 'in' like Richard Doherty, analyst at Envisioneering Group explained to the LA Times and b) looking into the environmental impact of the materials is becoming even more important as the demand for iPads is growing so fast.

In the environmental report Apple explains how reducing the iPad's footprint starts with reducing the material footprint:

Apple’s ultra compact product and packaging designs lead the industry in material efficiency. Reducing the material footprint of a product helps maximize shipping efficiency. It also helps reduce energy consumed during production and material waste generated at the end of the product’s life. iPad is made of recyclable materials,such as aluminum and glass.

The material use for iPad (Wi-Fi + 3G model) is as followed:
Glass, 155g
Battery, 155g

Display, 155g

Aluminum, 125g

Circuit boards, 45g

Plastics, 55g

Other, 40g

What this information does not include is reference to the source of the materials.
The life cycle analysis of Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris (see How Green Is My iPad?) is completing some of the missing pieces:

One e-reader requires the extraction of 33 pounds of minerals. That includes trace amounts of exotic metals like columbite-tantalite, often mined in war-torn regions of Africa. But it’s mostly sand and gravel to build landfills; they hold all the waste from manufacturing wafer boards for the integrated circuits. An e-reader also requires 79 gallons of water to produce its batteries and printed wiring boards, and in refining metals like the gold used in trace quantities in the circuits.

Apple is referring to the chemistry of the battery, which is built in, mentioning that it's free of lead, cadmium and mercury. These materials are restricted by European Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances. Apple mentions on the report that it "has long taken a leadership role in restricting harmful substances from its products and packaging. As part of this strategy, all Apple products comply with the RoHS Directive.

Apple explains on the report that it is not just complying with the Directive when it comes to the iPad, but actually goes even further by incorporating the following more aggressive restrictions, such as:

• Mercury-free LED backlit display
• Arsenic-free display glass
• Free of BFRs and PVC

Greenpeace think that Apple is doing OK when it comes to 'Precautionary Principle and Support for Revision of RoHS Directive', as they explained in its latest edition of the
Guide to Greener Electronics, giving Apple a score of Partially Good (2+):

Apple refers to its ‘precautionary approach’ to substances. Its progress in eliminating hazardous
substances seems to be guided by three important elements of this principle: preventive action, voluntary elimination and proactive search for safer substitutes. More information. Evidence of lobbying on RoHS 2.0. To score full marks, Apple needs to provide a public position on its support for immediate restrictions in RoHS 2.0 on at least PVC, BFRs and CFRs (within 3-5 years), as well as an nd-of-life focused methodology for adding future substance restrictions. It also needs to clarify its stance regarding the position of the trade federation TechAmerica on further restrictions of hazardous substances.

Apple is emphasizing the substances elimated from the iPad, such as arsenic (none in the display glass), BFRs and mercury (none in the LED backlit display), and Steve Jobs even mentioned it in his presentation on the iPad's launch event, but Greenpeace is less impressed.

In it electronics report, Greenpeace gives Apple a 'Partially Bad' (1+) score in chemicals management and explains why:

Apple provides examples of substances that it has eliminated, e.g. arsenic in LCDs and mercury
by moving to LEDs. It plans to have all products free of elemental bromine and chlorine – not just PVC and BFRs but there is even less information about Apple’s communications with its suppliers on its updated pages than before the website was updated. C2 evaluates disclosure of information flow in the supply chain. Apple refers to its Regulated Substances Specification which details a broad range of substances that are restricted or banned, yet still fails to disclose its Substance Specification 069-0135.

And how is it comparing to other e-readers? Well, it's hard to tell. Amazon doesn't disclose any information about the Kindle materials -
Casey Harrell, an international campaign coordinator for Greenpeace told the New York Times that “in terms of the Kindle or other similar e-book gadgets, I don’t know what chemicals are in or out."

On the same article we learn from Valerie Motis, a Sony spokeswoman, that "the company’s e-reader products are free of toxic materials, including polyvinyl chloride, or PVC."

So I believe that the iPad is doing fairly well in terms of materials, but as we learn from Greenpeace report and the LCA of Goleman & Norris it has some more way to go before we can say it is doing really well.

Parts on the analysis published so far:

Part 1 - the iPad's Carbon footprint

Part 2 - Recycling

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting Sustainable Reading!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Green printing tip no. 50: How we can we help your designer think Green on your next print job?

We are back today with a new tip 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 we're celebrating tip no. 50 with Greg who is presenting the most important elements a designer should look into when they want to green up printing job.

Can we help your designer think Green on your next print job?

Tip #50

We should first think of what we have learned on how to be Green in our printing.

Let's write down the important elements of going Green in your printing.

1. Paper: Tell your designer to consider using 100% post-consumer waste, recycled paper, or tree free alternatives.

2.. Inks or toners: remind your designer to ask for soy or vegetable based inks or 100% non toxic toner.

3. Green Energy: Make sure the plant you choose is using renewable energy. Ask if the energy is derived from Wind, Biogas or Soar Energy.

4. Layout: Maximize the paper, with little waste. Choose your print size to leave little waste paper space. It is environmental and a huge cost savings.

5. Bleaching Process: Ask for 100% Processed Chlorine Free paper. This will eliminate the creation of Dioxins, which are poisonous to all of us. 100% PCF bleaching is using Oxygen or Hydrogen Peroxide, not Chlorine.

6. Water: Using 100% PCW paper is saving our precious water supply. Recycled paper uses a lot less water.

7. Energy: Using 100% PCW paper uses a fraction of the energy to make the paper. If you use our Rock Paper, there is also a substantial energy and water reduction.

8. Carbon Footprint: To be Carbon Neutral, you must analyze the energy use, the water use, the inks or toners, the paper, etc. You may discover that one negative can be overcome by the positives. For instance, TerraSkin is a good Carbon Footprint paper, since it uses little energy and water to make the resulting paper. That overrides the freight. The Carbon Footprint will be favorable for Rock Paper, and 100% Post-Consumer Waste paper.

Have your designer ask the paper company and the printer to check all these points, before you decide on your next Green project.

For additional information, please visit and You're also invited to contact Greg via email at

You can find links to all the tips at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting
green printing!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

How green is your iPad? An analysis of the iPad's environmental report (Part 2: recycling)

We continue with our analysis of the iPad's environmental report. We decided to divide it to two more parts to make our analysis more readable, so today we'll discuss recycling, tomorrow we'll focus on materials and on Monday we'll finish with the social aspects of the iPad's manufacturing.


When it comes to recycling Apple's efforts include three important parts:
1. Apple minimize waste in the first place through "ultra-efficient design and use of highly recyclable materials". 2. Apple "offers and participates in various product take-back and recycling programs in 95 percent of the regions where Apple products are sold." 3. "All products are processed in the country or region in which they are collected." The question of course is whether it's enough to get consumers to actually recycle their iPad once the day when they wouldn't like to use it anymore arrive.

So let's look at the data Apple provides on its recycling programs on its website:

Apple has instituted recycling programs in 95 percent of the countries where our products are sold, diverting more than 83 million pounds of equipment from landfills since 1994. In 2008, Apple recycled 33 million pounds of electronic waste, achieving a worldwide recycling rate of 41.9 percent — our best ever. (To calculate this rate, we use a measurement proposed by Dell that assumes a seven-year product lifetime. The weight of the materials we recycle each year is compared to the total weight of the products Apple sold seven years earlier.) We are committed to achieving an industry-leading recycling rate of 50 percent by 2010. [Apple went up from 38 percent in 2007 and 18 percent in 2006].

This data does not refer of course to the iPad (no one probably wants to recycle it yet..) but it gives us an indication on the levels of recycling we can expect. So is 40%-50% a good recycling rate? Well, if you look at the national figures it is.

According to a report of
Electronics TakeBack Coalition, the recycling rate of computer products in the U.S. is 18% and for cell phones it's 10% (2007 figures). But is it enough? Not really. Just think about it - if iPad unit sales will reach 10 million in 2010 as Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty predicts, then a recycling rate of even 50% will still generate 7.5 million pounds (or 3,400 metric tons) of electronic waste. And don't forget we're talking here just about waste generated just from a single year of consumption.

What Apple needs to do? Apparently the infrastructure is sufficient, but what might be even more important is to provide consumers with a good incentive to recycle their iPad. Currently for example if you recycle your iPod with Apple, you get 10% off a new one. I guess Apple will need to find a better incentive for iPad users if it really wants to get most of them to recycle their iPad and not just about half of them.

Parts on the analysis published so far:
Part 1 - the iPad's Carbon footprint

More resources on the e-Books vs. physical books environmental debate can be found on our website at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting Sustainable Reading!

Friday, June 18, 2010

How green is your iPad? Analysis of the iPad's environmental report (Part 1)

Apple published on its website the iPad's environmental report, and for us this is a great opportunity to find out more answers in our quest to determine if the iPad, Kindle and other e-Book readers are a greener way to read books comparing with physical books.

Today we bring you the first part our analysis of this report, which will be is focused on the iPad's carbon footprint. Tomorrow we'll bring you the second part which will focused on the other environmental and social impacts of the iPad that are described on the report, as well as the ones that are still missing.

Before we start, we have to say a good word here. By publishing this report on their website, Apple is doing something that none of the other companies that sell eBook readers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble bothered to do so far. So Kudos to Apple for this move and we can only hope others will follow suit. We believe it's this information is viable and all consumers should have it available.

Part 1 - Carbon footprint:

Apple provides here for the first time he total lifecycle emissions of an iPad (Wifi and 3G model) 130kg CO2e. The components of the iPad's carbon footprint are detailed in this graph:

As you can see, production is the biggest contributor (58%) followed by consumers use (30%), transport (11%) and recycling (1%).

Now, when we have Apple's official carbon footprint figure, let's try to compare it to physical books.

For this comparison, I'll use the figure of 7.46 kg of CO2 to represent the lifecycle carbon emissions of an average book. This figure was presented on the Cleantech report (The Environmental Impact of Amazon's Kindle) and according to the report based on three independent studies that used life cycle analysis calculators to assess the impact of raw materials (I know it's much higher from the figure of 4.01 kg presented on the 2007 'Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the U.S. Book Industry' report, but I believe it helps to make the comparison more balanced).

So, comparing between the two gives us the following equation: 1 iPad = 17.4 physical books.

It means that if you put aside all the other uses of the iPad, then from a carbon footprint point of view, it becomes a more environmental friendly alternative option for book reading once you finished reading your 18th book on your iPad.

This result is quite surprising. If you look for example at the life cycle analysis of Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris, which was presented on the New York Times Op-Ed piece, How Green Is My iPad?, then you'll see that their conclusion regarding the break even point was that "When it comes to global warming, though, it’s 100 books."

So, does it make the iPad a greener way to read books? Well, let's see. Firstly, how much time it will take the average person to read 18 books? According to the Cleantech report 1 billion books are sold every year in the U.S. With a population of about 300 million people it means every person in the U.S. is reading about 3.3 books a year. Another source is the Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts report, which mentions that 3.1 billion books were sold in 2006, which is an average of about 10 books per a person. So let's assume the number of books is 3-10 per a year.

Taking these figures in account, it seems that it can take anywhere between 1.8-6 years for an average reader to reach the carbon break even point of 18 books. So if you're an avid reader, there's a good chance iPad is a greener option for you. For the average and below reader it depends of course on how much time you'll actually have the iPad. I doubt if anyone who bought it this year for example will still use the current version on 2016. They'll probably move to a newer version or another device during this time frame.

But wait a minute, carbon emissions are not all. What about the the environmental impact of the materials used, waste and even the working standards in the manufacturing facilities (which came up lately with regards to the suicide cases in the Chinese company Foxconn that is one of Apple's main suppliers)?

These are all issues that should also be taken into consideration. Carbon emissions are an important factor, but just part of the big picture. We'll address these issues tomorrow on
our second part of the analysis of the iPad environmental report.

More resources on the e-Books vs. physical books environmental debate can be found on our website at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting Sustainable Reading!