Friday, October 29, 2010

The green agenda of the Green Books Campaign's publishers - part 2: Scholastic

We're continuing today to present you with some of the publishers that participate in the Green Books Campaign and their thoughts on why it's important that books will be printed in an eco-friendly manner.

Our guest today is Scholastic.

Scholastic is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and related services and children’s media. Scholastic is participating in the campaign with
Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen (Printed on 100% recovered fiber of which 50% is post-consumer waste). The book will be reviewed on OurWhiskeyLullaby.

And now to the questionnaire (all publishers were asked to reply the same four questions):

Why do you believe books should be printed on eco-friendly paper?
As a publisher of children’s books, we believe it is our responsibly to the children to ensure that the virgin paper fiber used in our books is sustainably harvested and does not come from areas of social conflict. We also believe that by using recycled paper we are keeping paper out of landfills and helping to reduce the green house gas emissions which result from land-filled paper. Our practices reinforce Scholastic’s commitment to educate and care for children and ensure a safe environment where they can grow and learn.

What is your policy on using eco-friendly paper?
We have a strong environmental paper procurement policy ( which includes the following 2012 goals:

- 30% of our publication paper to be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certified. We are currently at 17.3%

- 25% of our fiber to be recovered (75% of that to be PCW). We are currently at 19.8%

- Balance of fiber to be free of unacceptable sources of fiber as described by the FSC controlled wood standard

Are there other ways you're going green?
We have reduced our packaging. We have reduced our direct mail book club kit mailings and we use recycled copy paper and have an in house recycling programs

Scholastic also tells our environmental story through the books we publish. Award-winning titles like The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming (winner, 2008 Green Earth Award), You Can Save the Planet: 50 Ways You Can Make a Difference, The Magic School Bus and the Climate Change, and a series based on the BBC’s Planet Earth television program demonstrate Scholastic’s commitment to educating kids about the environment

We also involve kids in a philanthropic approach to acting green. Working with the Rainforest Alliance’s Adopt-A-Rainforest program, Scholastic Book Clubs asked kids in classrooms around the country to read 100 books in order to preserve 100 acres of rainforest. There is now a protected area in Ecuador known as the Scholastic Book Clubs ClassroomsCare Reserve.

What's your advice to readers that would like to make their book purchasing more sustainable?
Do your research and purchase books from companies that have a strong environmental procurement policy.

Thank you Scholastic for your work and your participation in the Green Books Campaign!

The Campaign's page is .You can also follow the campaign on Facebook and twitter.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Last Original Idea is joining the "100 Trees Project" of Infinity Publishing and Eco-Libris

Last June we told you about our new collaboration with Infinity Publishing, a leading self-publishing company. Infinity launched with Eco-Libris the "100 Trees Project,"a new program to promote environmental sustainability among its authors.

Through the program, authors that publish with Infinity will be able to plant 100 trees for the title they publish. These authors will also have the option to add a special "100 trees planted for this book" logo to their book's design, as a way to showcase their commitment to environmental sustainability.

Today we're happy to update you about one of the latest books that joined the program - The Last Original Idea by Alan K'necht and Geri Rockstein. 100 trees will be planted for this book with Eco-Libris and you can also find our logo on the back cover of the book (see photo below).

What's this book about? Here's a description from its website:

The Last Original Idea – A Cynics View of Internet Marketing is a light hearted look at the state of Internet marketing today and traces back each of the elements to its historical roots, clearly demonstrating that companies who understood the mistakes of the past were able to be profitable in the present. Others are a mere memory, lost in cyber-space.

"Wisdom is about context. The Last Original Idea is a chronicle of communication and commerce as seen through the lens of the Internet. It is a must-have reference book for marketing people - if only to get a handle on all of those allusions you've heard, but can't quite place. This book puts the whole Internet phenomenon into perspective, takes the Gee-Whiz right out of it and leaves you with a view point tempered by time and seasoned with history. Just the thing for those who are rightfully fearful of repeating history." - Jim Sterne, Founder of the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit and the Web Analytics Association

About the authors: The Last Original Idea is the brain child of Alan K'necht who co-wrote it with Geri Rockstein. So after years of ideas floating through his head, K'necht with the help of Rockstein put his ideas to paper. The end product is this entertaining book.

"The Last Original Idea" as of October 16, 2010 is available (softcover) only from Buy Books On The Web. The authors anticipate it being available on and Barnes & Nobel by November 5, 2010. The ebook version should be available for most popular ereaders before the end of November.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The green agenda of the Green Books Campaign's publishers - part 1: FIELL Publishing

As promised yesterday, we're starting today to present you with some of the publishers that participate in the Green Books Campaign and their thoughts on why it's important that books will be printed in an eco-friendly manner. Our first guest is FIELL Publishing from the UK.

First, let's get to know the publisher a little bit better:

FIELL publishes b
eautiful, unique, authoritatively written, high-quality illustrated books that embrace the most interesting, important and pertinent subjects within an enticing rage of disciplines - art, architecture, design, digital culture, ethical, fashion, lifestyle, natural history, photography and popular culture.

Peter and Charlotte Fiell have worked in illustrated book publishing for 20 years, and recently founded FIELL with the aim of making content-rich books that inform, entertain and entrance. Books that inspire and help those who aspire to lead better lives, to understand other cultures, to understand themselves, to contribute more to the world.

FIELL is participating in the campaign with the following books:

The Little Book of Shocking Global Facts’ by Barnbrook (in addition to being printed on FSC approved paper, 1% of the profit from this book is being donated to the Rainforest Alliance). The book will be reviewed on Green Design & Other Ideas.

The Little Book of Shocking Food Facts by Craig Holden Feinberg & Dale Petersen (printed on FSC-certified paper). The book will be reviewed on Victoria Klein's blog.

The Little Book of Shocking Eco Facts by Barnbrook, Mark Crundwell & Cameron Dunn (printed on FSC-certified paper). The book will be reviewed on Business Women Blogging, with opinions.

And now to the questionnaire (all publishers were asked to reply the same four questions):

Why do you believe books should be printed on eco-friendly paper?
We at FIELL are very conscious of eco-friendly and sustainable design – Peter and Charlotte have been writing about sustainable design for years, and now with their own publishing house they aim to highlight and support environmentally friendly and ethical design, and one of the best ways for us to do that is for us to use high quality, eco-friendly paper and processes – it isn’t just important to use eco-friendly paper, what you print onto it is just as important.

We want our books to be something to buy to keep, not to just throw away because it’s only relevant for five minutes, or because it doesn’t feel special or considered. Our series of ‘Little Books of Shocking Facts’ have been real eye-openers for us, and we hope for our readers too – it is about time that we considered our use of materials more seriously and it’s time we take responsibility for what we produce and how we produce it.

What is your policy on using eco-friendly paper?
We use paper from sustainable sources in all our publications. Many people think of the future as being in digital books, because of the issue of the sustainability of printed mediums – one way of keeping printed books alive is to make sure that when readers are buying them they can reassure themselves that they are making an environmentally friendly choice, and we know that we are doing our best to make publishing a sustainable industry – we also see a future of an emphasis on these digital book platforms, and during the production and editing of our books we are constantly thinking of their transferability to digital formats.

Are there other ways you're going green?
The whole concept of something being ‘well-designed’ is that you only have to buy it once. In drawing people’s attention to these designs, to true masterpieces of design, architecture, fashion, and photography, we are encouraging people to think before they buy. It’s what Dieter Rams said: Less but better. We’ve drawn a lot of attention to this idea with our book ‘Tools for Living’, which is a book of ultimate products for the home; the ultimate potato peeler, the ultimate clock, the ultimate set of knives. The idea that you can buy one of these items once and it will last you a lifetime not just because it looks good but because it really works: that drives us.

What's your advice to readers that would like to make their book purchasing more sustainable?

If you really want to make a difference in the way that you buy books, or products of any kind, is to ask yourself, is it necessary? Is this the best book I can buy on this subject? Again it’s the idea of buying once and buying the best.

Thank you FIELL for your work and your participation in the Green Books Campaign!

The Campaign's page is .You can also follow the campaign on Facebook and twitter.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Which publishers participate in the Green Books Campaign?

The Green Books Campaign includes not just 200 bloggers who will review 200 books printed on eco-friendly paper, but also the publishers that publish these books.

56 publishers from the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K. are participating in the Green Books Campaign. This group of publishers is very diversified and includes both small and large publishers, but there's one thing that is in common for all of them - they print books on environmental-friendly paper, such as recycled paper or FSC-certified paper.

In the next two weeks we'll highlight some of these publishers and their efforts to go green and print their books in an eco-friendly manner. In the meantime, here's the full list (in an alphabetic order) of all the participating publishers with links to their websites:


Allworth Press

Barefoot Books

Channel View Publications Ltd / Multilingual Matters

Cleis Press and Viva Editions

Constable & Robinson

DK Publishing


Easton Studio Press

ECW Press

Ester Republic Press

Fiell Publishing

Firefly Books

Five Mile Press

free spirit publishing

Fremantle Press

Ghigo Press


Goose Lane Editions

Guernica Editions

Harvard Business Press

Holiday House

HOPS Press

House of Anansi Press

Island Press

Key Porter Books

Lantern Books

Leap Books

Lost Horse Press

Loving Healing Press

Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books

McArthur Co.

McClelland & Stewart


New Society Publishers

NeWest Press


North Atlantic Books

Om Baby World

Penguin Group


Profile Books

Ronsdale Press


Second Story Press

Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing

Sterling Publishing

Texas A&M University Press

Tightrope Books

University of Alberta Press

University of Arizona Press

Wayne State University Press

Whit Press

Wings Press

WSU Press

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Is the new literary App a killer App or just a vague promise?

That's the question that popped into my mind after reading Noam Cohen's article 'Blurring the Line Between Apps and Books' on the New York Times. This interesting article presents couple of interesting literary apps developed lately and their potential value proposition for both authors and publishers.

So what sort of value proposition we're talking about? Well, when it comes to authors, Stephen Elliott, author of "The Adderall Diaries", who produced an app for his book, explains in the article what he's looking for:

“As an author, I want you to have the best experience,” he said. “People want to talk about the books they are reading with other people. Why, with everything we know, wouldn’t you include a chat room with your e-book?”

Once readers buy the app, he says, they are beginning a relationship with him and other readers; they can leave comments and read responses and updates from the author. They may even be told down the line that he has a new book for sale and then be able to buy it through the app.

And what's the potential in literary apps for publishers? Dennis Johnson of Melville House Publishing, who is working with Electric Literature to introduce an app book before Thanksgiving, share his vision in the article:

The attraction is obvious, he said.“If you publish work that is hard to sell in the American market, say literary fiction in translation, this is another format to hardcover, paperback and e-book,” he said. “A fourth line of revenue.”

In an interview, he imagined the possibilities, such as having readers whose devotion is deeper than merely dipping into a title, who would install a piece of software onto a phone or tablet. “I love the idea of putting books on subscription,” he said, “of having a membership in your publishing house, of having a readership invested in your books.”

So far so good and the excitement is obvious, but will such apps can and will follow these kind of expectations? I doubt.

And here's why: First, there's actually nothing new about these propositions. They're out there on other platforms. In the case of authors, many of them already build relationship with their readers on twitter and facebook for example without any extra charge. When we're talking about publishers, you've got many creative ways available today of crowdsourcing, where readers can participate in writing, decision making on which books will be published and even invest in new books. Most if not all of these options do not require a payment in advance like a literary app does.

Second, and this is especially relevant to authors, there's the cost issue. You can buy the ebook of Elliott for $9.99 or pay $14.99 for the app, which includes the e-book and "a dedicated discussion board to talk with other readers...Also features extras like Stephen Elliott's book tour diary, an RSS feed for news and events, a video interview with the author, and more."

I guess the attractiveness of such offer mainly depends on the attractiveness of the book or the popularity of the author, and I'm not sure if popular authors or best selling books need such platform in the first place.

It's true that authors are still looking for ways to generate extra income out of their books, but I'm not sure if these kind of apps will prove themselves to be one of the best ways to do it. I guess the attractiveness of such offer mainly depends on the attractiveness of the book or the popularity of the author, and I'm not sure if popular authors or best selling books need such platform in the first place.

The literary app is described in the article as a growing trend, but I've got a feeling it has a limited potential and we'll still have to wait for a real killer app to pop up.

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

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Looking for one more blogger to join the green books campaign!

As we mentioned earlier this week, the 2010 Green Books Campaign will take place soon:

On Wednesday, November 10, 2010, at 1:00 PM Eastern Time 200 bloggers will take a stand to support books printed on environmental paper by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 such books (One of them you can see in the picture here - Make It by Jane Bull, which will be reviewed at

And we have room for one more blogger to join in!! We
still have more than 40 books to choose from for review and you can see them at

So if you're interested in joining 199 other bloggers in this unique campaign, aiming to use the power of the internet and social media to promote "green" books and increase the awareness of both readers and publishers to the way books can be printed printed in an eco-friendly manner, choose from the list the book you wish to review and email us the details to

And don't forget that the campaign has a new Facebook page, where where you can follow news and updates on the campaign. You're also welcome follow it on Twitter at @greenbooks2010.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The 2010 Green Books Campaign - now on Facebook and twitter!

The 2010 Green Books Campaign is not that far away! In 18 days, on Wednesday, November 10, 2010, at 1:00 PM Eastern Time 200 bloggers will take a stand to support books printed on environmental paper by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 such books.

Launched in 2009 by Eco-Libris, the Green Books Campaign is looking to promote books printed on environmental paper by turning a spotlight on books that are already printed this way.
Our goal is to raise book buyers' awareness and create a discussion on the ways books should be printed, using the power of the Internet and social media to create a buzz and get the word out on the campaign

We want it to be an interactive discussion and therefore we have a new Facebook page, where where you can follow news and updates on the campaign in the upcoming 18 days. You're also welcome to add your thoughts, ideas and questions there! The campaign is now also on Twitter and you can follow it at @greenbooks2010.

And if you want to join the green celebration, we still have room for 5 more bloggers!
We still have 50 books you can choose from for review at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Banning phone book litter in Seattle? Not so fast...

Last week the city of Seattle made an important step last week - it voted "on a yellow pages "opt-out" ordinance that would get rid of those phone books." It makes Seattle the first city in the country to set up an opt-out registry if you don't want to receive yellow pages.

We have discussed here before how wasteful are the Yellow/White Pages' practices ('The Yellow Pages are going green, but how about eliminating the wasteful printing in the first place?') and also compared the carbon footprint of a search on Google and a Yellow Pages directory. So any step in the right direction is a reason to be more optimistic.

Nevertheless, I'm not sure if the headline given by our friends at Treehugger to this story (Phone Book Litter Banned in Seattle, Nation's First Opt-Out City) is not a bit too optimistic. Applying Opt-out system is an important step, but it's very far from banning phone book litter. First, you can already opt out system for Yellow Pages (well, right now they're upgrading it so you can't really use it) and second, it's going to be real ban only when it will change to an opt-in system.

I'm afraid that even the most user-friendly opt-out system won't get enough people to move themselves out of the list, even in a progressive city like Seattle. If the city really wants "to allow residents to say no to the books" it should give them the freedom to choose if they want to receive these books in the first place. It's reasonable, better to the environment and will save money to the city (according to the announcement "City Councilor Mike O'Brien says unwanted yellow pages cost the Seattle $350,000 a year in recycling costs").

So I hope that the city of Seattle won't stop in launching an opt-out system and will end the current wasteful practice by creating an opt-in system to get things done. Then, we'll be able to talk about banning phone books litter in Seattle.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Is it greener to borrow ebooks from your local library?

When Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris published their life cycle analysis (LCA), comparing e-books and physical books (How Green Is My iPad?, NYT), they wrote that at "all in all, the most ecologically virtuous way to read a book starts by walking to your local library."

Now, how about staying and home and getting an e-book from your local public library?

I got thinking about it after hearing a report on NPR's Marketplace about libraries in Birmingham, Atlanta that offer users to check out e-books ('
iPad and Kindle users can't borrow from e-book libraries'). This is a growing trend, and it seems that libraries find it an interesting channel that will keep them connected with readers in the digital age.

For readers it's very convenient (
cheaper than buying e-books and "there are no late fees, no trip to the library, the book expires after the date.") and of course the big e-readers sellers don't like it too much (Library e-books don't work with two of the biggest e-readers - the Amazon Kindle and Apple's iPad) as it means less business for them.

But what about the environmental side of this option? I mean, leaving the e-book vs. physical book debate aside for a moment, is it "greener" to borrow a book from a library than buying it online? I'm not sure. I can't think actually of any reduction of your environmental impact if you choose to use e-library over buying online.

I mean, this sort of activity, can eventually change the way libraries operate and probably influence their current public functions (will we be able to afford and support big brick and mortar libraries if most of their activity will be online?), but I can't think of any advantage from an environmental perspective for borrowing e-book comparing to buying it.

I'll be happy to hear your thoughts about it!

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Saving trees or softer touch for the butt?

It seems that this is the question consumers have to ask themselves if they're considering using toilet paper made of 100% recycled paper. You can guess the answer most of us will give..

The New York Times had an interesting article today on Marcal Small Steps, a company that is selling for 60 years toilet paper that as they say is made 'from paper, not from trees'.

They have now a new marketing campaign and it seems that they're doing well - in any case, much better than the market in general.
But they still have a very small market share in paper product categories ("low single digits"). The reason? Their products are not soft enough for the American consumer.

There is some trade-off here and no matter what the reason is (Darby Hoover of NRDC suggest it's "decades of advertising promoting softness"), most of the consumers will prefer to wipe their tooshie with a softer paper even if it comes on the account of trees.
Trade-off has always been an obstacle in the efforts to green up consumers' behavior. It is very unfortunate, but we have to face reality and think what can be done to get more green paper products purchased.

Right now, according to NRDC, just 10% of the paper products for home contain recycled content. This is very low. Too low.
Some companies look for middle ground, like Kimberly-Clark (remember their new relationship / partnership with Greenpeace?) that is selling Scott Naturals’ products, which are "only partly made of recycled content, with the toilet paper using the least at 40 percent and napkins the most at 80 percent."

Aric Melzl, senior brand manager for Scott explained on the article that “you can have a product that’s 100 percent recycled with a smaller following or you can have Scott Naturals, where you choose to deliver the quality that folks are expecting with more mass appeal and a bigger business and more impact on the environment than a business that has a smaller following."

He definitely has a point and this is a good way to convert consumers gradually to use greener products, but this is still a partial solution. The other part that I'm missing here is innovation - Can't we really find a way to make sure there won't be any trade-off at all?

I mean, in a day like this, when we are so happy to see the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners, you wonder how we know can save miners captured 2,000 feet below the ground, but have no idea how to make toilet paper from recycled paper that will be soft enough for the American tooshie? (by the way, does anyone know what toilet paper the miners used on the last 69 days?)

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Who is also offering more of the same? Barnes and Noble!

I wrote couple of times in the past (here and here for example) on the lack of winning strategy at Barnes & Noble with regards to their 700+ brick and mortar stores. At the same time I was always wondering if I miss anything and somehow they do have a real good plan for the stores.

Now, after reading an interview with Leonard Rigio of B&N on Publishers Weekly I know they just don't have it. All they can offer is more of the same.

Rigio is of course very confident when he refers to the digital side of B&N, saying that "the company will continue with plans to aggressively transform itself into a major force in the sales of digital content." But what is his vision about the stores? Here's the plan:

Despite the possible bump in print sales over the holidays, it is clear fewer print books will be sold in bookstores in the future, forcing booksellers to find ways to make up for lost sales as well as to bring in customers, Riggio said. B&N stores "will remain chock-full of books," he said, and will continue to have the appearance of a grand library. But the company has already added more nonbook items, such as education games and toys, and the retailer will continue to test new initiatives over the holidays. And while the merchandise mix of the stores will change, Riggio said he doesn't expect the number of stores to change. "We tend to close a few stores every year at the end of their lease, and we move some stores to better locations. But over the next two to three years, I don't see the composition of our stores changing much at all," Riggio said.

So, if I summarize it, we'll have similar number of stores selling books and some more merchandise like toys and notebooks. This is far from being promising or even encouraging. These ideas are nothing new - Blockbuster, for example, tried to do something similar in the past and we all know where it ended. Not to mention that keeping the same number of stores operating doesn't sound too realistic.

These ideas certainly won't help to transform the stores from a liability back to an asset. If anything, this interview shows me that B&N is still very much in the dark when it comes to its bookstores. It's time for them to look for new ideas before it will be too late.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Friday, October 8, 2010

There’s no such as “normal” weather in Guatemala…but trees can help!

An AIR-planted pine forest, about 8 years old in Simajhuleu, Guatemala, stopping a mudslide from the road above and protecting a stream and houses below (June 2010; photo: A. Hallum)

Last June we updated you how trees planted by our planting partner AIR in Guatemala help to mitigate some damages of Hurricane Agatha.

AIR is doing an incredible job in Guatemala in general, but in such situations its work is even more substantial. This is also a demonstration of the value of trees planted by AIR and their significant impact on people's life.

Dr. Anne Hallum, the Director of AIR, who was in Guatemala at that time with a team of volunteers to plant trees as this was the planting season, sent us a brief report, which is enclosed below, on the event with pictures that help to get a better understanding what happened there.

There’s no such as “normal” weather in Guatemala…but trees can help!

The last day of May, 2010, tropical storm Agatha poured so m
uch rain on south central Guatemala, it caused horrific flooding and mudslides that killed at least 145 people, washed away crops and highways, and hundreds of homes. Particularly hard hit was the Department of Chimaltenango where AIR works.

Some scientists speculate that climate change has changed the normal afternoon rains of the rainy season into intense “rain events.” It doesn’t help that decades of deforestation have worsened the mudslides, and that highway construction and gravel mining in the mountains takes down more trees, and safer engineering practices are not used.

In any case, the rains continued throughout the summer months (Guatemala’s “winter” months). In September “Tropical Depression 11-E” parked for days over the same area of Guatemala, and mudslides destroyed highways and one bus filled with persons was buried, killing at least 12 persons. One of AIR’s technicians was trapped on a road all night outside of Panajachel, with mudslides occurring around him.

What is to be done? First, AIR is responding with targeted emergency aid because the technicians are themselves Guatemalan and know the roads and villages very well. Secondly, volunteers have already been recruited to help rebuild homes—once it stops raining every day. Thirdly, the tree-planting efforts must intensify in these mountainous regions.

It was evident to everyone this summer, that where AIRES had reforested hillsides, the mudslides did not occur. In one village, a young pine forest that AIR had planted 8 years ago acted like brakes on a mudslide washing down a road and protected the stream and houses below. As the AIR technician said, “the little trees stood like soldiers” stopping the mud (photo).

AIR staff members & truck delivering food & water, in Santa Apolonia, 2 June 2010 (Photo: A. Hallum)

The benefits of trees seem innumerable – animal habitat, soil nutrition; shade; beauty; fertilizer; fruits, carbon sequestration—and this summer in Guatemala, they literally saved lives.

Josue, standing next to an AIR-planted forest in Simajhuleu, Guatemala; his family has worked with AIR for 10 years (Photo: A. Hallum)

AIR tree nursery; Santa Apolonia; Rebecca Hallum, Anne Hallum, with Luis Iquique and the resident committee, June 2010 (photo: A. Hallum)

For more information, and to donate for AIR’s emergency response, see

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Are publishers and bookstores in the same boat when it comes to e-books?

Not too long ago it looked like the book industry is a unite front when it comes to dealing with the new challenges of the digital era. When talking about the the future of books or trying to answer questions like 'Is Print Dead?', the general notion was that bookstores and publishers are in the same boat.

But are they?

I believe that right now the answer is no. While both publishers and bookstores need to deal with difficult challenges, it looks like publishers in general are better positioned than bookstores.

Here is some evidence: Let's start with publishers. Last month Publishers Weekly reported on the results of the five largest trade publishers in the US:

"Four of the five houses reported significant changes in their operating performance in the first half of 2010 compared to one year ago, with big books, or the lack thereof, playing a major role in the shifts...In general, the major houses were optimistic about the second half of the year."

On the other hand, when it comes to bookstores the headlines aren't that positive:

Does The Independent Bookstore Have A Future?
(Treehugger, October 4, 2010)

Borders Posts Net Loss of $46.7 Million for 2Q
(GalleyCat, September 1, 2010)

Barnes & Noble to Shutter Upper West Side Superstore in NYC
(GalleyCat, August 31, 2010)

Now, this is of course generalization, as you still have many publishers struggling and new bookstores that are opened, but I believe it reflects the current state of the book industry, where bookstores have much harder time to adjust to the e-book era than publishers.

Don't get me wrong. Publishers have their own unique challenges to deal with and you can find some of them on a great piece that Stephen Page wrote on the Guardian ("
The future of publishing takes shape"). Still, it looks as publishers have more flexibility and capabilities than bookstores to meet the new e-challenges. As Publishers Weekly reports from "This year, e-books are looked at more as an opportunity than a threat." And yes, it is referring only to publishers.

At least for now.
Both bookstores and publishers are making more money from sales of e-books -B&N CEO reported last month to investoers that "over the last two quarters, these eBook sales have been driving the growth of our BN" and, according to Publishers Weekly, at the end of June, e-book sales accounted for about 8% of adult sales at the publishers. Still, book sales at bookstores are declining while publishers manage to show better performance. Contradiction? Not really. Readers just go elsewhere to buy their books, paper or electronic.

The conclusion is that publishers look more prepared for a hybrid future of both paper and electronic books, although they still have to prove they are capable to adjust their traditional business model to the new era and be able to provide an added value to both writers and readers. Bookstores still need to figure out how to respond to the e-book challenge. If for publishers, e-books begin to look like more as an opportunity, then to bookstores, it's still both a risk and an opportunity.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Plant a tree for every book you read!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy birthday to Kate Winslet, Grant Hill and all the others who celebrate their birthday today!

What's the connection between musician Bob Geldof, actress Kate Winslet, artist Maya Lin and basketball player Grant Hill?

They were all born on October 5! 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!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

We still have room for bloggers who want to join the 2010 Green Books Campaign!

The second Green Books Campaign is taking place in 5 weeks and we still have room for bloggers who are interested in joining and be part of a joint effort to promote books that are printed sustainably.

Here are the details:

Last November, as part of our efforts to promote books that are printed in an eco-friendly manner, we initiated a Green Books Campaign, where over 100 bloggers simultaneously published reviews of more than 100 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. This campaign also involved 40 publishers from the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

The campaign last year was very successful - more than 15,000 readers were exposed to the campaign and it received very positive feedback from publishers, bloggers and readers.

Therefore, we decided to run the campaign again this November, but this time with 200 bloggers! Also, this year we are also collaborating with Indigo Books and Music, the largest book retailer in Canada to increase the campaign's impact and reach.

Just like last year, the idea is to have 200 bloggers, who review books on regular basis, to simultaneously publish their book review of a "green book" of their choice on Wednesday, November 10 2010. Our goal also hasn't changed: To use the power of the internet and social media to promote "green" books and increase the awareness of both readers and publishers to the way books can be printed printed in an eco-friendly manner.

As I said, we still have room for bloggers who want to participate! So if you're interested, the list of participating
books that is available at (Please note that it's recommended to increase the magnification of the web page up to 125% to see all the details).

The books will be assigned on first come first served basis. Once a book is taken, the name of the blog will appear next to it in the column 'assigned blog' (please check this column carefully to see which books are still available for review). So if you find a book that you would like to review on the campaign, just send us an email to with your details.

Raz @ Eco-Libris