Saturday, July 31, 2010

Five places where it is better to use a Kindle than a book (pool not included)

Amazon cut last Thursday the cost of the Kindle to $139. On the New York Times article about the $139 “Kindle Wi-Fi", Jeff Bezos was quoted saying:

“At $139, if you’re going to read by the pool, some people might spend more than that on a swimsuit and sunglasses."

I went today to the pool and didn't see there with a Kindle, but on the other hand saw many people reading physical books. It makes sense - if your book gets wet, it's unpleasant but it will get dry eventually. I'm not sure you can say that about the Kindle if it gets wet..

So, it got me thinking - which are the places it's better to have a Kindle (or iPad or Nook) with you and not just good old physical books? I came up with 5 places:

1. Vacation - books are heavy, what can we say. So with all airlines that will happily charge you for overweight baggage, taking the Kindle is no brainer. More room for some clothes and of course for gifts! And we shouldn't forget that a lighter flight has a smaller carbon footprint :)

2. Picnic - Somehow I got a feeling that when a chorizo falls on your Kindle, with all the ketchup and mustard in the world, it will be easier to clean it than a book and it also won't smell like a chorizo for the next couple of weeks. Also, people don't really know what you're reading, so there's a better chance you won't be disturbed with questions like: "Ah, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, that's an interesting name - what is it about?"

3. Party - Who brings a book to a party anyway? But if you got yourself to a boring party and you can't run away, the Kindle can be your saver, helping you to pass the time in a meaningful way without showing too much your lack of interest in the party. If caught, you can always say you were just checking your email.

4. Subway/Bus - At least if you're one of those who don't like others to know what they're reading. Another condition is that you're not one of those who fall asleep on the subway/bus and drop whatever they hold on the floor..

5. Restroom - Some people might disagree, but isn't it time to throw all the books and magazines stacked in your little restroom and just have some quiet reading time with your Kindle? Just make sure to keep the experience as hygienic as possible!

If you have any other places to add to the list please feel free to add your comment!

Raz @ Eco-Libris
Eco-Libris: Promoting   sustainable reading!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Green Business Blog Carnival #8

Welcome to week #8 of the Green Business Blog Carnival, a weekly green assembly that highlights the news, opinion, and insight on green business published during the past week.

We're very happy to host the carnival this week and thank all our green biz colleagues who arrived to celebrate with us another week of green biz progress. So let's check who's here.

The first guest is
Dinesh Thirupuvanam of Viv Business Club who followed up an interesting on a LinkedIn group called the Compost Network about plastic food packaging. He's exploring the question whether plastic food packaging is getting in the way of the recycling and composting efforts of many of our small businesses, and adding three recommendations to prevent this from happening and to help businesses move toward zero waste.

Speaking of materials,
Kalen Smith of Engineer-a-Business wrote about the potential of potato starch based polymers. One of the problems associated with the depletion of the world's oil supply is that the polymers we use in our world come from this ever disappearing substance. Fortunately, we can already use the starches from potatoes to create new polymers for someconsumer applications. But is it possible to use these polymers for more later on as well?

Kalen is not the only guest occupied with green innovation.
Jeff McIntire-Strasburg at Sustainablog who is talking with Eco-entrepreneur and runner Carolina Baker, who couldn't find an eco-friendly sports bra that she liked... so she created her own.

Green marketing was also on the agenda of the green community this week.
Lorna Li of GreenMarketing.TV wrote on the importance of adopting green marketing practices, with five actionable ways you can green your marketing campaigns today. Lorna's first advice is to have your product or service eco certified.

Taylen Peterson at CalFinder
agrees with her. Going Green with Your Business? Certify! he says in an article that explored green certifications and eco-labels, explaining that the competitive edge of the future will go to certified green businesses.

We celebrated the beginning of season 4 of Mad Men on
Eco-Libris blog, wondering if anything changed since Don Draper tried to sell us Lucky Strike, explaining that advertising is about selling happiness and assuring us that whatever we're doing is OK. We conclude that not much, at least not when it comes to ads of e-readers.

And no carnival is complete without some radical thinking - RP Siegel presented at Triple Pundit a great video presenting Seventh Generation’s Jeffrey Hollender idea about radical transparency. In this video, he tells the story of how several years ago, he posted a list on the company’s website of all the things wrong with their products and how they fell short of what the company was, and still is, trying to achieve in terms of their focus, which is to “restore the environment, inspire conscious consumption and create a just and equitable world.”
We hope you enjoyed this week's carnival and we invite you to visit the green business blog carnival
next week at Matter Network.
Also, if you want to host the carnival on your blog check out the opportunities at Sustainablog and to submit posts visit Triple Pundit for the submission form.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Independent bookstores need a war plan and they need it now!

The news in the last 48 hours on the closing of two independent bookstores, Tree House Books (Holland, MI) and Rodney's Bookstore (Cambridge, MA) got me to realize it's time for independent bookstores to prepare a war plan.

There's nothing new in the fact that independent booksellers are struggling, and not only in the US.
The Guardian reported in February that in the U.K. independent bookshops closed at a rate of almost two every week over in 2009. In Vancouver, Canada, After 53 years in the business, independent bookstore Duthie Books closed its doors last January and in April another bookstore in the city, Sophia Books, was closed.

So why War Plan? Because it doesn't seem like this trend is going to
reverse itself any time soon. And if independent bookstores want to stop this trend, they have to act fast and they need a war plan, because this is a war and their survival is at stake.

Couple of elements that are crucial for the success of this plan:

Awareness - Independent bookstores have many loyal customers, but probably not enough. At the same time, I'm sure there are plenty of readers out there that will be happy to consider supporting them because they like these bookstores, what they represent and their contribution to the local economy and community.

Personal Benefit - To move people from condition of awareness to action you need to provide them with some sort of added value or personal benefit. This is a must. You can't just rely on the fact that people like bookstores - they won't show up in big numbers if it won't be worthwhile.

No trade-offs - Most people don't like to pay a price even it's for something they believe in. For example, a survey conducted by researchers at Stanford University found that 76 percent favored government limiting business’s emissions of greenhouse gases. At the same time, large majorities opposed taxes on electricity (78 percent) and gasoline (72 percent) to reduce consumption. So my conclusion is that if you want to drive people to do the right thing, you need to create a win-win strategy with no trade-offs. Staying only with the small minority who don't mind these trade-offs is not an option anymore. How do you integrate these elements into an effective yet realistic war plan? Well, that's the real challenge here.

Couple of weeks ago I suggested here a model
that will provide customers with both personal benefits and the feeling that they're contributing to the prosperity of their own community. This model is based on creating a collaboration with other local businesses to enable these businesses to provide customers with discounts for each other. I think that if you add to it a creative awareness campaign, this model can definitely be considered to be part of the war plan.

In any case there's a need to act fast. "Publishing is changing fast, bookselling is changing fast" said Skip Prichard, Ingram CEO last week at BookExpo America in a 'A CEO Panel: The Value of a Book'. He is certainly right and I believe there's a real urgency here - the sooner independent bookstores will prepare their war plan, the better their chances are to win this war.

You can find more resources on the future of bookstores on our website at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We have a winner on our giveaway of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping"

We have a winner on our giveaway of the " The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping"!

Following our review of "
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping" by Dean Stiglitz and Laurie Herboldsheimer, we asked you to share with us if you would consider beekeeping.

We got interesting replies and we have a winner! Our winner is nfmgirl who wrote:

Absolutely I'd consider it! I actually know a beekeeper who has a small honey business. I live in South Florida surrounded by orange groves and bee hives!

Congrats nfmgirl! You won a copy of "
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping" and we'll also plant a tree for this book! Thank you also for all the rest of the participants!


Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

10 Ways Geolocation is Changing the World

This post was written by Rob Reed. He is the founder of MomentFeed, a location-based marketing, strategy, and technology firm.

Location technologies are transforming how we experience, navigate, and ultimately better our world. From the global to the local, here are #10Ways geolocation is a positive force for good.

Social media has changed the world. It has revolutionized communications on a global scale, and the transformation continues with every status update, blog post, and video stream. The global citizenry has become a global network.

Since becoming widely adopted just a couple years ago, social media has supercharged social action, cause marketing, and social entrepreneurship. Indeed, the true value hasn't been the technology itself but how we've used it. Today, a second wave of innovation is defining a new era and setting the stage for change over the coming decade.

Mobile technologies will extend the global online network to anyone with a mobile device while enabling countless local networks to form in the real world. We've decentralized media production and distribution. We're doing the same for energy. And we'll continue this trend for social networking, social action, and commerce.

The combined forces of smartphones, mobile broadband, and location-aware applications will connect us in more meaningful ways to the people, organizations, events, information, and companies that matter most to us---namely, those within a physical proximity of where we live and where we are. Can location-based services (LBS) change the world? Here are #10Ways:

1. Checking in for Good: If Gowalla and Foursquare have taught us anything, it's that people respond to simple incentives. By offering badges, mayorships, and other intangible rewards, millions of people are checking in to the places they go. Apps like Whrrl take this a step further and enable like-minded "societies" to form on a local basis. The next step is for these apps to add greater purpose by encouraging more meaningful checkins and offering corresponding badges and stamps, thus mapping the cause universe. Or for a dedicated app to be developed that rewards conscious consumption, social responsibility, and civic engagement. Yes, the CauseWorld app features a cause element, but it's not about cause-worthy places.

2. Eating Locally: Sustainability demands that we source our food as close to its point of production as possible. Many so-called locavores subscribe to the 100-mile diet, which requires that one "eat nothing---or almost nothing---but sustenance drawn from within 100 miles of their home." Given the difficulty of accessing and verifying this information in order to live by this standard, there's a geo-powered Locavore app. It gives you info on in-season foods, those coming in-season, farmer's markets, and links to recipes. This rather simple app is clearly just the start. In time, location-aware apps will guide us not only to the grocery store or farmer's market but through them. All the while identifying foods based on our particular diet or sensibility.

3. Political Organizing: In the next presidential election, politics will not only be local but location-enabled. We saw the power of social media in Obama's 2008 landslide victory. In 2012, location-based apps and technologies will play a central role in how campaigns are organized, managed, and ultimately won. Much of this will be visible through mobile apps and location-aware browsers. Activists and volunteers will be more empowered. Voters will be more engaged in the moment, right down to casting their votes. Behind the scenes, though, we'll see massive new sets of data available to campaigns for targeting, empowerment, and optimization. The party, candidate, and/or cause that has the best handle on geolocation will have a measurable advantage. (The Elections app will soon be updated for 2010.)

4. Finding Green Businesses: The web has effectively replaced the paper Yellow Pages as a way to find local businesses and services. However, this "stationary web" experience is quickly being supplanted by the mobile web and mobile applications, which give us access to this information when we most need it. The Yelp and Around Me apps are popular ways to find restaurants, coffee shops, or hotels wherever you are, but what about green-rated businesses? Greenopia has transformed its printed, local guides into a dynamic, nationwide mobile application that lets you find local, green-rated businesses in any category. No more paper and a much better experience. The Green Map app is another that facilitates discovery and connects us to local green environments.

5. Traveling More Efficiently: We've had access to GPS navigation systems and static traffic information for some time, but only now are we seeing the full potential of these technologies. With access to more detailed traffic information that is specific to your route and updated in real time, we can minimize congestion and maximize traffic flow (as much as physically possible). The new turn-by-turn MapQuest 4 Mobile app is a good start, as you can get traffic alerts specific to the route you program. However, user-generated information from apps like Trapster and Waze can crowdsource more specific details, such as whether to avoid an intersection due to a toxic chemical spill. Or, if you want to avoid automobiles altogether, Google Maps makes it easy to use public transportation and take a bike.

6. Scanning for Ethical Products: With online shopping, we've become accustomed to reading reviews and making comparisons before we buy. This can now be done in the physical world through games like MyTown and services like Stikybits. By scanning a product barcode using a smartphone camera, you can unlock a treasure of additional information (not to mention deals) that can help with your purchase. This might include where it was produced, how far it traveled, the reputation of the manufacturer, chemical contents, carbon footprint, or the full lifecycle analysis. Location-aware applications can also transform commerce itself by giving us better access to local inventories and locally-produced goods. Whether it's fruits and vegetables or books and electronics, if something can be found within blocks of your current location, it makes no sense to ship it from afar.

7. Networking Neighborhoods: One of the hottest categories in geolocation is neighborhood networking. The vision for many of these apps is to strengthen the very fabric of our communities. With DeHood, you can keep track of what's happening in your neighborhood, share your favorite places, and grease the wheels for actually meeting people. After all, if you've made contact through the app, it's a lot easier to say "Hello" in the real world. Blasterous is another that lets you share information locally, whereas BlockChalk does this on an anonymous basis. Finally, NeighborGoods uses your street address to facilitate one-to-one borrowing and trading of useful stuff. In the end, making connections with your neighbors can lead to safer, more productive, and more sustainable communities.

8. Tracking Environmental Disasters: The size and scope of environmental disasters appears to be growing. In 2008, we had the Tennessee coal ash spill, which was billed as "the largest environmental disaster of its kind in the United States." And that was before we realized it was three times bigger than originally estimated. More recently, the BP oil spill set daily records for "largest environmental disaster in the U.S. ever." In each case, geolocation technologies can be used by engaged citizens to monitor and track the effects. They can be used by response teams to coordinate containment and cleanup efforts. Ultimately, these technologies can be used to accurately measure the size and impact of a disaster in order to better understand its damages and costs.

9. Viewing the World Through an Eco Lens: Augmented reality (AR) follows geolocation as one of the hot trends in mobile technology. It enables you to view the world through a smartphone camera (or similar device) and see layers of geo-specific content or information. One of the most popular apps is Layar, an augmented reality browser/platform that lets you choose specific data layers or experiences. The potential for green- and cause-related content is tremendous. You might view green-rated businesses, LEED-certified buildings, or virtual GHG emissions as they enter the atmosphere. Combined with smart meter technology, you could see the most efficient and inefficient homes around you in real time. And for the cynics among us, you could view our mountains, forests, rivers, and oceans as they once were...before the effects of climate change and so many environmental disasters.

10. Capturing the Moment: Better access to information about what's happening around us---right now---can dramatically improve quality of life. This sense of "geospatial awareness" is possible through today's smartphones, whereby a piece of content or information---a moment---is captured and preserved based on the unique time and place in which it occurred. It is essentially to document spacetime. Protests, natural disasters, sporting events, parties, political crises...real-time information about anything happening anywhere at any time, as well as the history of what happened. This will take several years and a number of different applications to realize. In the end, though, it will revolutionize how we access and consume content. It will complete the democratization and decentralization of news and information...based on time and location.

Cautionary note: Privacy is the single biggest issue in the LBS industry. It's important to understand what information you are sharing with regard to your location and with whom.

Author's note: We'll be hosting geolocation events for Social Media Week in Los Angeles this September. This is the third in Max Gladwell's #10Ways series of distributed blog posts. It was published simultaneously on as many as 300 blogs.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What changed since the era of Mad Men? Not much when it comes to E-Readers!

Don Draper can sell you (almost) anything. One of the best examples for his brightness and creativity was his "It's Toasted" moment, when he created the slogan for Lucky Strike cigarettes.

Don defines in the meeting with the Lucky Strike guys the essence of advertising in that era - "Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And you know what happiness is?The smell of a new car, it's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you're doing it's OK - you are OK."

Has anything changed since then? Not much. At least not when it comes to ads of of e-readers that sell you the same perception of happiness, mixed with some coolness.

The first example is the iPad:

So, yes, iPad is thin and beautiful. You can even claim it's magical. Maybe it's already a revolution. It's all true. But at the same time, "it's toasted" is also true. It's just not ALL of the truth. So just like Lucky Strike didn't mention the fact their cigarettes can kill you, Apple also avoids sharing some facts that aren't that happy and might let you think you're not that OK if you buy it.

Here are just couple of examples:

The iPad is manufactured at Foxconn, a Chinese factory, where 14 young workers attempted or committed suicide, the last one only couple of days ago. Foxconn was described by Li Qiang, an executive director of New York-based China Labor Watch, as a sweatshop that “tramples” workers’ personal values for the sake of efficiency."

These suicides got representatives of nearly 50 socially responsible investing groups to issue a public call to the electronics industry to step up their oversight of suppliers as reports today: "The statement, signed by 45 members of the investment community, condemns abusive workplace conditions in the electronics industry, where a recent spate of suicides at Foxconn -- supplier to some of the industry's largest firms, including Apple, Dell, Hewlett Packard and many others -- led to widespread criticism of the company and its customers, and which pressured Foxconn to offer significant raises to its workers."

2. Minerals that are used to make components for many electronic devices, including the iPad, are bought from Congo, helping to finance a horrible war there. These minerals are usually referred to as "conflict minerals". Nicholas Kristof wrote about it lately on the New York Times:

"I’ve never reported on a war more barbaric than Congo’s, and it haunts me. In Congo, I’ve seen women who have been mutilated, children who have been forced to eat their parents’ flesh, girls who have been subjected to rapes that destroyed their insides. Warlords finance their predations in part through the sale of mineral ore containing tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold. For example, tantalum from Congo is used to make electrical capacitors that go into phones, computers and gaming devices.

Electronics manufacturers have tried to hush all this up. They want you to look at a gadget and think “sleek,” not “blood.”"

Apple response? Steve Jobs wrote to a concerned customer that "We require all of our suppliers to certify in writing that they use conflict few materials. But honestly there is no way for them to be sure. Until someone invents a way to chemically trace minerals from the source mine, it’s a very difficult problem." Definitely not screaming with reassurance that what you do (purchasing the iPad is OK)..

And what about Amazon's Kindle? Well, Amazon is no different of course, presenting an ad with a catchy and happy tune:

Reality check? Well, the Kindle just like the iPad is been manufactured at Foxconn and has also the same conflict minerals sourcing problems. Somehow (maybe because Amazon is even less transparent about these issues than Apple) Apple is more on the line of fire on these issues, but it doesn't mean that the Kindle is better with regards to these issues.

And the same goes for B&N's Nook: Very happy ad vs. a much more complicated reality:

Bottom line: The legacy of Don Draper's vision is live and kicking when it comes to e-readers! They're not cigarettes of course and they won't kill you, but don't forget the happy fuzzy feeling they try to sell you is just a sales pitch and nothing more. Reality is always more complicated and many times very different from the one you see on these 30 seconds.

And of course, don't forget to enjoy the fabulous season 4 of Mad Men that started yesterday. I know I will :)

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting Sustainable Reading!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Upset about the death of the climate bill? Now it's the time to make sustainable choices!

Now when the climate bill is officially dead, this video,which is from 2008 and talks about our responsibility as producers and consumers to make sustainable choices when it comes to paper, is relevant than ever.

It's sad that Washington can't find the political will to incentivize sustainable choices and push the economy to the right direction, but it doesn't mean that we can't do anything in the meantime. This video reminds us of our options when it comes to paper and the consequences of continuing the business as usual status quo.

This video is from the excellent resource The Secret Life of Paper - A Project of Inform, Inc.

How is paper production related to forest destruction and global warming? Why is recycling and buying recycled paper important?

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Audiobook of the month: Every Last One by Anna Quindlen (and a giveaway!)

Today we start a new series of recommendations on audiobooks. Each month we'll share with you an audiobook we loved to listen to.

We have a special interest in audiobooks as we believe they represent one of the options to read books sustainably, especially when you download them - an option that represents right now about 21% of all sales (the rest are CDs). Therefore we would like to encourage you to take this option into consideration when you're thinking about your next literary purchase!

Our audiobook for this month is:

Every Last One

Anna Quindlen
ANNA QUINDLEN is the author of several bestselling novels (Rise and Shine, Blessings, Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue), and nonfiction books (Good Dog. Stay., Being Perfect, Loud & Clear, A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Living Out Loud, Thinking Out Loud, How Reading Changed My Life). She has also written two children's books (The Tree That Came to Stay, Happily Ever After). Her New York Times column "Public and Private" won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Her column now appears every other week in Newsweek.

Read by: Hope Davis

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Published on: April 2010

What this book is about?
The latest novel from Pulitzer Prize-winner Anna Quindlen

In this breathtaking and beautiful novel, the #1 New York Times bestselling author Anna Quindlen creates an unforgettable portrait of a mother, a father, a family, and the explosive, violent consequences of what seem like inconsequential actions.

Mary Beth Latham has built her life around her family, around caring for her three teenage children and preserving the rituals of their daily life. When one of her sons becomes depressed, Mary Beth focuses on him, only to be blindsided by a shocking act of violence. What happens afterwards is a testament to the power of a woman's love and determination, and to the invisible lines of hope and healing that connect one human being with another. Ultimately, as rendered in Anna Quindlen's mesmerizing prose, Every Last One is a novel about facing every last one of the things we fear most, about finding ways to navigate a road we never intended to travel, and about living a life we never dreamed we'd have to live, but find ourselves brave enough to try.

What we think about it?
I certainly agree with the description of "Every Last One" as a"breathtaking and beautiful novel". I listened to it while driving and I can tell you this audiobook got me to drive more slowly on my way home just because I couldn't stop listening to it. I hope the other drivers (and my wife) could forgive me..

Nevertheless, it's not an easy story to listen to. I don't want to get too much into it, not to ruin it to those of you who haven't listened to it yet, but I can say it gets you very emotional. And this is again the place to remind the great advantage of an audiobook - when it's narrated well, it generates another dimension to the story and it gets to you in a way that a physical book, or even an e-book just never does. And the reader of "Every Last One", the wonderful Hope Davis, is doing a great job, so this added value can definitely found here.

The story as the description mentions is about facing every last one of the things we fear most, and I know not everyone might not feel comfortable to deal with fears. At least I know I don't. But even so I felt this journey with the Latham family was worthwhile and I was happy I took it.

Bottom Line: Recommended! Don't forget to put some tissue in your glove compartment!

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

You can listen here to the author, Anna Quindlen, talking about the audiobook:


We're giving away one copy of this audiobook, courtesy of the publisher.

How you can win? Very simple. All you have to do is to retweet this post with the hashtag #everylastone. We will have a raffle on Thursday, July 29, 5:00PM EST between all the readers that retweeted this post. The winner will be announced the following day.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When will Amazon start being more transparent about the Kindle and their ebook sales?

Amazon announced yesterday that for the last three months, sales of books for its e-reader, the Kindle, outnumbered sales of hardcover books.

Amazon's release didn't provide a clear picture on their e-book and Kindle sales, but nevertheless created of course a lot of buzz and there was almost no media outlet that didn't report about it.

BUT, is the information Amazon released really significant and why can't they just be fully transparent once and for all??

First, the significance of the information: Amazon said that in the past three months, it has sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books. In July, sales of e-books accelerated to 180 sold for every 100 hardcover versions. Also, Amazon said Kindle device sales accelerated each month in the second quarter—both on a sequential month-over-month basis and on a year-over-year basis.

Jeff Bezos tried of course to build a positive momentum from these figures, saying in a statement that the shift at Amazon is “astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months".
According to the Wall Street Journal, he also said that "the growth rate of Kindle device sales had "reached a tipping point," having tripled since the company lowered its price to $189 from $259 last month, following a similar move by competitor Barnes & Noble Inc. to cut the price on its Nook e-reader."

Some analysts also got excited from this data. The WSJ quoted Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney who said "That is dramatic evidence of how powerful the e-book is now. What the iPad and other book reading devices have done is just raise the overall e-book market—and Amazon is extremely well positioned to take advantage of it." The New York Times quoted Youssef H. Squali, managing director at Jefferies & Company in charge of Internet and new media research, who said that "Amazon’s latest sales figures are “clearly an indication that the iPad is complementary to the Kindle, not a replacement.""

But what these figures really mean? Is the e-book market growing? Definitely. Is the whole book market growing or people are just buying e-books instead of hardcovers? It's not clear, although Amazon said its hardcover sales continued to grow. And What about paperbacks? Nada. Amazon says nothing about this segment.

So even though this information is another clear indicator of the e-book market growth, is it really a "tipping point" as Bezos calls it, or a " dramatic evidence of how powerful the e-book is now" as Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney describes it? I'm not so sure. As the WSJ pointed out it, Amazon still attracts an online audience that is more inclined to be early adopters of new reading technology. This is still not the mainstream. And it certainly goes hand in hand with the forecast of
Gina Centrello, President and Publisher of The Random House Publishing Group that eBooks which represented 3% of the market will increase this year to about 10%. Impressive? Yes. e-Revolution? Not yet..

We have to remember that Amazon wants to paint a picture of accelerating growth in sales of e-books, which should serve it to outweigh a negative sentiment because of the iPad launch and concern that Amazon would lose market share to the iPad and other competitors. You could see it, as the
NYT reports, on Amazon’s stock price that is down about 16% in the last three months, in part because of those fears.

It was very clear that Amazon is not presenting the whole picture, but only bits of information that can help generating the right sentiment. For some reason, there wasn't almost any criticism about it on the media. Only few media outlets and bloggers such as
David Rothman on TeleRead wrote about it (at least that's what I managed to see online..).

That brings me to the second question - why Amazon is not more transparent? Rothman on TeleRead titled his post "Amazon needs to reveal actual Kindle unit sales numbers and stop misleading investors." No matter if you agree or disagree if Amazon is misleading its investors or not, I'm sure you'll agree that their practice of revealing only few pieces of the puzzle is certainly annoying. For example, although Amazon is a public company and sell the Kindle since 2007, the company has never said how many Kindle devices or e-books it has sold (

And it doesn't stop there. As we mentioned here in the past, the company does not make environmental data available. Amazon also ignored requests for providing such information. Here are two examples:

- When
Joe Hutsko of the New York Times tried to learn more about the Kindle, he reported that “phone calls and e-mail messages to Amazon inquiring about the materials in the popular Kindle device have thus far gone unanswered.”

- Emma Ritch of Cleantech Group who wrote the report “The Environmental Impact of Amazon's Kindle” wrote that “Amazon declined to provide information about its manufacturing process or carbon footprint.”

I believe that transparency is not just something Amazon owe to its investors and stakeholders, but also a powerful tool that can actually become beneficial for Amazon. I totally agree here with Jeffrey Hollender, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Seventh Generation, who wrote on GreenBiz the following:

Information technologies now let the public keep an eye on everything we do, and we invite this scrutiny. Publicly sharing all our activities preempts our critics, and more eyes on our behavior means more advocates and friends. Radical transparency also creates new partnerships and in this way becomes the first step towards overcoming the deficiencies that ultimately harm our profitability.

Will Amazon do it? I think eventually they won't have a choice, especially when competing with companies like Apple and Google that take a different approach towards information sharing and transparency. How much time? well, it depends on Amazon and even more on their stakeholders and the pressure they're willing to put on the company.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A new collection of poetry and prose of author Janice Winokur is going green with Eco-Libris!

We're happy to announce on a new collaboration with author and educator Janice Winokur on her first collection of poetry and prose, In the Light of an Alabama Rain: A Meditation. One tree will be planted with Eco-Libris for each copy of this book!

Here's more about
In the Light of an Alabama Rain: A Meditation:

Containing a rich tapestry of insights and reflections, this highly readable collection of vignettes is both memoir and spiritual exploration.

The pieces in this book are drawn from Winokur’s journal, recorded in
Alabama during the late 1980s. As the author was getting ready to discard some old papers recently, she began to read through her journal. According to Winokur, “I was surprised to find that a number of entries still felt true, even with the passage of years, and that together they seemed to compose a meditation.”

She assembled these entries and they became In the Light of an Alabama Rain: A Meditation. Readers who look for inspiration in stories and words will be lifted up by the glimpses of light discovered here in the smallest, and sometimes the darkest moments of life. A childhood memory, a parent’s decline, the absence of a loved one, and many other experiences, are probed by Winokur for their sparks of illumination.

Read from beginning to end, the book is a single, Spirit-filled love poem that embraces all of life, both the mundane and the profound.

The book retails for $12.95 and can be purchased at area bookstores. Orders can also be placed by contacting Simple Harvest Publications at:

PO Box 284
Grantham, NH 03753

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The green book of the week: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping (including a giveaway!)

Today we have a book about one of the most hottest trends that is buzzing around!

Our book is:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping

Author: Dean Stiglitz and Laurie Herboldsheimer

Publisher: Alpha

Published on: May 2010

What this book is about?
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping has all the information a beginA-ning beekeeper needs to know to start a hive and keep it buzzing. Expert beekeepers Dean Stiglitz and Laurie Herboldsheimer, owners of Golden Rule Honey, take readers step by step through the entire process-from information on the inhabitants of a hive and how it works to collecting bees, keeping them healthy, raising a queen, harvesting honey and wax, and storA-ing hives for the off- season.

What we think about it?

The popularity of beekeeping keeps growing. The Telegraph reported last month, for example, that "A new trend among the middle classes for keeping bees has doubled the number of hives over the last two years". According to the British British Beekeepers Association (BBKA), the increase had partly been driven by concern for the environment and the recent fashion for grow-your-own food.

And it's on the other side of the ocean as well. Epoch Times reported on May about "Landmarks across North America becoming hives of activity", mentioning that "beekeeping became legal in New York City in March, much to the delight of the hundreds of residents who had been keeping bees in violation of the city’s health code. San Francisco has an abundance of apiaries, mostly on condo and apartment rooftops. The South Lawn of the White House boasts an apiary, as do Chicago’s City Hall, the Paris Opera House, and London’s upscale food emporium Fortnum & Mason."

And the benefits of making your urban surroundings buzzing? Adam Aston who documents his experiences and observations as a novice beekeeper in the urban jungle at Bees NYC explains: "The benefits of urban beekeeping are substantial. Despite the conventional view of the city as a slough of pollution, urban honey is likely to have significantly less chemical residue than commercial honey made beyond the boroughs...Local honey will benefit the health of the planet as well: minor transportation costs, no-fuss manufacturing (courtesy of the bees), minimal processing, simple recyclable packaging and centralized retailing provide a model of effective, low-carbon production and distribution."

So as you can see 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping' was released in a perfect timing. The buzz is already here and many people wants to learn more about beekeeping, or at least better understand if they can or should get into it. Well, this book is definitely a good place to get some replies.

As always with this series, this book covers all the basics - information on bees, essential gear, where to get your bees, what they eat, how to inspect your hive and even what they call 'Bee Sex 101' (Did you know that when a drone mates with a queen his sexual organ explodes and he dies??). And as with many other books in the series, this book provides you enough information you need to establish knowledge about the subject, so if you're becoming serious about it, you can go to stage two - going to experts and asking questions.

But let's go back for a second to stage 1 - the basics. Keep in mind that beekeeping is more complicated than learning how to grow tomatoes in your back yard, but at the same time, it's not rocket science. Still, there's a lot to learn - as the authors write in the introduction to the book: "No matter the accumulated knowledge, no matter the sophistication of the tools, every answers we get yields countless questions. The closer we look, the deeper we go, and it never seems to end. This is the nature of the honeybee."

The book definitely makes an attempt to address all the challenges involved with beekeeping, and full with useful information, easy to navigate and full with interesting facts that makes it more than just a practical guide. It's not National Geographic on bees, but still I found myself learning a lot. Here's for example one practical advice I hope I won't have to use: "For normal pain an itching from bee stings, try applying a poultice of plantain leaf... A common "home remedy" is a paste of baking soda and water."

Bottom Line: If you're considering to join the buzz, but don't really know too much about bees, this is the book for you.

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: Would you consider beekeeping? We will have a raffle on Saturday, July 24, 5:00PM EST between all the readers that will add their reply. The winner will be announced the following day.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is going green really worthwhile for authors?

The post this week on James Kaela, who is going to ride his bike for 1900 miles in 40 days to promote his new zero emissions book reminded me of the last piece missing in our series on the green future of the book industry - the one about authors.

Yes, just like publishers and bookstores, we believe authors can be a significant force in moving the book industry ahead toward a sustainable future. Just think about J.K. Rowling and the role she had in making Harry Potter so green (including
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which was called the greenest book in publishing history).

It's true of course that not every author has the power J.K. Rowling had (she for example blocked the Finnish version of Harry Potter no. 7 from being printed on local paper because it lacks the ecological FSC certification), but on the other hand it doesn't mean that authors are powerless unless they're best-sellers. Authors can make a difference, whether they're called Margaret Atwood or James Kaela.

But the (maybe) more interesting question is whether green choices are better for authors? When we talked about the future of publishers and bookstores, we made an argument that making greener choices in their cases is not just great for the environment, but also has a strong business case. Is this the case with authors?

We believe that although such a move won't necessarily generate benefits to authors in all cases, there's still enough evidence to support the assumption that going green is worthwhile to authors. Here are couple of examples:

1. Greener choices receive positive media mentions, which help to spread the word about the book and promote it. The book tours of Margaret Atwood and James Kaela are good examples.

2. Making sure your book is printed on recycled paper or FSC-certified paper can get the author a warm endorsement from NGOs, like in the case of RAN that published a list of
25 children’s books that are “rainforest-safe.” All books on the list are printed on post-consumer recycled, FSC certified or recycled paper, allowing parents the assurance of knowing that their childrens’ books are not contributing to the loss of Indonesia’s or other endangered rainforests.

3. Print On Demand (POD) not only reduces waste and books' footprint, but also gives authors (and publishers) a way to save money. Though not suitable for every author, in a future, where
Smashwords's Mark Coker estimate that "most authors will be indie authors", this is certainly a win-win solution for many of them.

4. Creative green ideas can generate more sales - Even just using the Internet and
social media networks for marketing instead of more traditional off-line marketing channels with greater carbon footprint is a win-win solution, generating usually better ROI and reduced environmental impacts.

5. Diversifying to other forms of publishing such as e-books might prove itself as another way of generating sales while reducing the book's footprint. Of course, as we say every time, we don't know yet how green e-readers really are, but from what we do know, we can definitely assume that they will come a more solid green alternative in the near future.

Given the relatively easy and cheap process of creating an e-book, it should be a good way for authors to go green while generating more sales from the growing numbers of readers who like to read their books on screens instead of paper.
These are just couple of examples. We're sure that there are plenty more. In all, we believe that the future of authors is no different from the future of the book industry, meaning that they go through the same trends.

These trends no matter how you look at them are either already green (POD, online marketing) or will be in green in the near future (e-books). What I like about these trends is that you don't necessarily have to be green to utilize them, but no matter what is your reason, both you and the environment will benefit. We do believe nevertheless that authors that will also know how to position themselves as "green" authors will even benefit more.
What do you think? We'll be happy to hear your thoughts!

Here are the articles we published so far in our series on the green future of the book industry:

Why should the book industry go green?

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Read more about JK Rowling wants Green Paper for Harry Potter by CreativeCloud from the UK's leading supplier of printer cartridges

Read more about JK Rowling wants Green Paper for Harry Potter by CreativeCloud from the UK's leading supplier of printer cartridges

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

GPI will have a webcast this Friday on the Latest on the challenges and opportunities of printing in Asia

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. We also work now on an interview with Ian Lifshitz, Sustainability & Public Outreach Manager at Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), which is at the center of the report.

The challenges (as well of opportunities) of printing in Asia are also the topic of an upcoming webcast organized by our friends at the Green Press Initiative. The webcast will take place this Friday, July 16, 2010 at 11:30 AM (ET). Registration is free, but you need to register online until July 15 to attend it. You can do it at

It is expected to be a very interesting webcast, so we recommend everyone who wants to learn more about these issues to join. Here are more details on the webcast:

Manufacturing books in Asia has risks and rewards. Aside from ensuring compliance with the Lacey Act, socially responsible publishers need to take new steps to ensure that they are not impacting communities or the world’s most biodiverse and Endangered Forests. This webcast will attempt to update you on the realities of sourcing from Asia and provide perspectives on your options and related tools. Panelists will address the connections to Indonesia and present success models and clear steps for minimizing risk and utilizing your market leverage for positive benefit.

Panel Details:

Linda Kramme, Global Forest & Trade Network - North America, World Wildlife Fund
Linda will discuss the biodiversity and climate impacts that illegal and unsustainable logging in Indonesia is having on the country's shrinking forest and wildlife resources. She will also share some tools that WWF has developed to help paper purchasers "green" their supply chains and reduce impacts.

Lafcadio Cortesi, Rainforest Action Network
Lafcadio will discuss the impacts that logging in Indonesia has on local communities. He will also discuss Rainforest Action Network’s campaign to encourage children’s book publishers to stop sourcing fiber from Indonesia and recent tests which indicate that much of the fiber in books printed in Asia is sourced from Indonesia.

Shona Burns, VP Production, Chronicle Books
Shona will discuss Chronicle’s efforts to print books in Asia while ensuring that paper is made from fiber that is responsibly sourced.

Kurt Andrews, Production Director, Melcher Media
Kurt will discuss the success Melcher Media has had reducing the portion of books that are printed in Asia and increasing domestic production while at the same time maintaining margins.

Todd Pollak, Program Manager, Green Press Initiative
Todd will moderate the panel, and will also introduce a newly developed tool from Green Press Initiative which identifies overseas paper suppliers that are at low risk for Lacey Act violations or impacting endangered forests or local communities.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading

Monday, July 12, 2010

Author James Kaela is biking 1900 miles to promote his new Zero Emission book

Some authors say they care about the environment. James Kaela is willing to bike 1900 miles in 40 days to prove it.

I read today on Treehugger that James Kaela, who just published his first novel 'We're Getting On', is doing it "because he recognises that it is difficult to be carbon free in the manufacturing of the book, no matter how hard one tries. So he wants to make the promotional part as emission free as he can. He will be staying at organic farms and eating vegan power bars. He will be travelling from Los Angeles to Vancouver. Calling it the Zero Emissions tour, he will be visiting 22 towns, biking 1900 miles in 40 days"

The book itself walk the walk (or in this case, bike the bike or something like this..), with interiors that are printed on 100% recycled paper and covers that are made of seed paper which, upon burial, germinate and grow into birch trees.

I like the idea very much. Not only that the book is printed using environmentally-sound practices, but it also use them as an inspiration to a unique eco-friendly promotional tour. What I like even more is the fact that Kaela is not afraid to take on himself a difficult challenge to get the word out on his book. He said in an interview that he'll stop the bike tour until Stephen Colbert will invite him to his show. So we keep our fingers crossed and look forward to seeing him on the Colbert Show!

'We're Getting On', published by Flatmancrooked, is part of a limited edition run of 1000 copies, so if you're interested in buying it don't wait too long! And by the way, if you're wondering what you do with the book after you read it - do you keep the book on your shelf or plant it in your garden? According to Treehugger, the author thinks that "makes for a nice commentary on materialism. What's more important? The contents of the book or the physical book itself?"

You can follow the Zero Emissions tour and purchase a copy of the book at

Here's the first commercial/book trailer for the Zero Emission Book Project:

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading