Friday, September 30, 2011

What if Republican presidential candidates were e-readers?

I saw a funny comparison of CSR reports to celebrities and it got me the idea of comparing the 2012 Republican presidential candidates to e-readers and see if we can find any interesting (and funny) matching and identical characteristics.

So without further ado, here's our comparison. We hope you'll enjoy it.

What if Republican presidential candidates were e-readers:

Michele Bachmann

Why? "Expert recommendations and fun social features"

Herman Cain - Pandigital Novel Color Multimedia eReader

Why? Believes it brings added-value to the field. Bit of too much self-esteem.

Newt Gingrich - Sony Reader

Why? An old-timer. Doesn't really have a chance against the new generation.

Jon Huntsman, Jr.
- Aigo X1 HD

Why? Popular in China.

Gary Johnson
- iriver E-Book Reader

Why? Have you ever heard about it? I guess not..

Ron Paul - Astak EZ Reader

Why? Ignored by the media.

Rick Perry
- Italica Paperback Reader

Why? "Light. Fast. Simple"

Mitt Romney
- Amazon Kindle

Why? Front runner. Yet, you always look for something better.

Rick Santorum
- The Kobo eReader

Why? "Have the look of a winner" (well, probably just the look..)

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Come on Bezos, Kindle My Fire, or: Amazon's week on our blog

Jeff Bezos introduced on Wednesday Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet device. The new $199 tablet , as well as Amazon's other new products, the all-new Kindle for only $79, two new touch Kindles – Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G – for $99 and $149, are the biggest development in the e-reader /tablet market since the launch of iPad last year and created an incredible buzz.

We also think this is big news and we will have an Amazon week next week, exploring the impacts of the new products in five posts from our green perspective:

On Monday we'll discuss if the new Kindles will contribute to making e-reading greener.

On Tuesday we'll compare Kindle Fire with iPad 2 and Nook Color and see which device is greener.

On Wednesday we'll see what will be the impact of the new Kindle products on Barnes & Noble.

On Thursday we'll check what will be the impact of the new Kindle products on independent bookstores.

Finally, on Friday, we'll discuss the influence of the new Kindle Fire on Amazon's carbon footprint and if we'll see any change in the company's refusal to disclose it.

See below Jeff Bezos demonstrating the new tablet at a presentation on Wednesday:

So stay tuned and visit us next week to learn more on the green impacts of Amazon's new tablet.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shanah Tovah from Eco-Libris!

Today is Rosh Hashanah Eve, the day before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish holiday celebrating the new year's day according to the Hebrew calendar.

Rosh Hashana is one of my favorite holidays, with many beautiful traditions, such as eating apple slices dipped in honey, which represent our hope for a sweet new year.

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

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

RIP Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and Nobel Peace Laureate

Wangari Maathai died on Sunday at the age of 71. She was the mother of three, the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate, and the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1977 Dr. Maatha f
ounded the Green Belt Movement, a non-profit organization based in Kenya, where she mobilized thousands of women to plant trees in an effort to restore the country's indigenous forests, introducing the the idea of community-based tree planting as an effective way to both fight poverty and natural resources degradation. Since 1977, GBM communities have planted over 45 million trees in Kenya to increase national forest cover and restore essential ecosystems. As forest cover has decreased over the years, communities have suffered from severe crop failure and water shortages. GBM’s community development programs that accompany tree-planting efforts have evolved to help women and their families address these basic needs at the grassroots level

For many, myself included, Wangari Maathai was a hero. As someone once told me her strength was in the simplicity of her message - Plant a tree, save the world. Simple actions are powerful. I also admire her ability to empower and inspire people all over the world with her vision, determination and positive thinking.

On receiving the news of being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, 2004 she said: “It is evident that many wars are fought over resources which are now becoming increasingly scarce. If we conserved our resources better, fighting over them would not then occur…so, protecting the global environment is directly related to securing peace…those of us who understand the complex concept of the environment have the burden to act. We must not tire, we must not give up, we must persist.”

You can read moore on her work at

R.I.P Wangari Maathai and thank you again for everything you did for us and for the legacy you're leaving behind you.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pick-a-Woo Woo's new book, The Star Who Lost Her Sparkle, is going green with Eco-Libris!

We are happy to announce a new collaboration with our partner, the Australian publishers
Pick-a-Woo Woo, on a great new green children's book that was just released: The Star Who Lost Her Sparkle.

100 trees will be planted with Eco-Libris for this book. As you can see in the picture above, our logo is also added to the book's cover.

Based in Western Australia, Pick-a-Woo Woo Publishers are publishers of Mind Body Spirit books for children. Their inspirational books are designed to help children connect with their intuition and inner guidance, develop their awareness skills and enhance their Mind, Body, Spirit connection.

This book is a green book, not just because of the trees planted for it, but also because of the story it tells and the messages it sends to the readers. Here are more details about The Star Who Lost Her Sparkle:

Sprinkle here and Sparkle there. We work with love
This cosmic fairytale of a sick star and her sad people is a story we can relate to with our planet today. Luckily, the Fairies from the Great Medicine Star work their wonderful healing arts for happiness. A simple meditation is provided to help spread the sparkle.
A powerful message that reaches out to young and old who care about our beautiful planet Earth.
Author: Tricia mary Lee
" I have always loved writing. I love it as an art form for it's creative expression, as a communication tool for reaching across cultures and continents, as a power tool to inspire the heart and transform our way of thinking."
"The Star who lost her Sparkle" is my first published children's book and it was written in England, where I have a strong Celtic bloodline, hence the fairies!!! "
A self-confessed gypsy, Tricia mary, [who is proud mum to two big men, Tom, a photographer and James, an artist,] currently lives with her husband of 27 years in the beautiful southern forest region of West Australia in communion with this wonderful earth.
Her work journey spans teaching special needs students in the early childhood age range in the UK to literacy consultant in the Kimberley [ far NW Australia ], from practicing various healing modalities to training volunteers in Tender Touch Therapy for work with the aged and especially those with palliative care needs. In 2010 she received the ‘Volunteer of the Year' award for this work.
She is the author of two books for women : "Stop Punishing Yourself" and "The Sacred Goddess Manuscripts" and has more works yet to come. (Note from Pickawoowoo - these books are fantastic)

Copies of the book are available for purchase on Amazon.

Other Pick-a-Woo-Woo titles that go green with Eco-Libris:

The Boy Who Was Born To Love Frogs
Angel Steps
Ocean's Calling
KC the Conscious Came

Archie Angel to the Rescue

More information on these books and other titles published by Pick-a-Woo Woo can be found on their website -

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The future of textbooks, or: What will get 25 percent of the students to give up sex for one month?

Here's a very interesting infographic on the textbooks of tomorrow, where you'll find everything you want to know about the future of this industry, which we hope will be offering students eventually with cheaper and greener solutions.

To see the graphic in full size, please double click on it.

Textbooks of Tomorrow

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Borders was closed today forever, but at least CEO Edwards has got already job offers..

Today is a sad day for book lovers - GalleyCat reported Borders will close forever today, leaving tens of thousands of booksellers out of work. One who is also out of work, but not worried too much about it is Borders' CEO Edwards.

Edwards did an interview to the Detroit News, and according to the newspaper, "he is an unemployed chief executive without a grudge and with a $125,000 severance check.he doesn't know where he's headed — perhaps Southern California or Oregon, where he led Lucy Activewear and Ellington Leather — but he said he has received job offers from companies impressed with his handling of Borders' bankruptcy."

I'm glad to hear that Edwards already has job offers, but I really couldn't understand how any company can be impressed with his handling the bankruptcy. Borders got the worst outcome possible of this bankruptcy, so what's there to be impressed about exactly?

Also another thing that bugged me on this interview is that Edwards doesn't take on himself any responsibility for what happened - "For most of its life, Borders enjoyed a reputation as the go-to destination for bookworms. But "you can be the best ice salesman in America until the refrigerator comes," Edwards said."

That's it? That's the best you can say? How about 'I take responsibility on what happened'? Nothing even close to that.. Well, if this is the sort of leadership the companies offering him job are looking for then they found their right man!

I still think at least his former employees deserve more than that.

Raz @Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What can you do with your old newspapers? How about flip flops (or paperflops..)

Don't believe it? Check out Paperflops, flip flops that are made from entirely natural and biodegradable materials.This is not just a great idea, but also a great example of upcycling.

According to Paperflops, which is based in Indonesia, these Flip Flops are made of recycled and up-cycled newspapers. It takes approximately 1kg of old newspapers to produce a pair of PaperFlops Flip Flops. Other materials for the PaperFlop Flip Flops include root from old palm trees, coconut shells, and 100% natural rubber. The PaperFlop Flip Flops are quite durable and water proof since they are protected with a natural rubber sealant. 

Here are some more details about Paperflops from Ulule:

PaperFlops is a creative workshop that employs underprivileged people including street children and disabled people throughout Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This workshop trains and educates these people in arts and crafts to creating amazing products so they can be entirely self-sufficient.

The workshop creates various unique handmade products made from recycled and up-cycled newspapers and other natural materials. All of the materials used in our workshop are environmentally friendly and sustainable. The products produced in our workshop include flip flops, sandals, bags, pencil boxes, and more.

The PaperFlops flip flops exist in different models and of course different sizes.It seems according to Ulule, where Paperflops were looking for funding couple of months ago, that their price is between $50-$60 including shipping, but it's not really clear where and how you can order them right now. If you want a pair, you might want to email Paperflops at to get more details.

Photos credit: Ulule

Friday, September 16, 2011

SFI is losing another battle against FSC with seven companies deciding to stop using it

ForestEthics announced earlier this week that seven companies, including five Fortune 500 companies has joined a growing corporate movement against the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), a controversial forestry certification.

Here is a summary of actions or commitments by these seven companies as provided by ForestEthics:
  • Sprint will shift all billing statement paper from SFI to Forest Stewardship Council, a more rigorous label, and will phase out use of the SFI logo on billing envelopes. Finally, Sprint has committed to give purchasing preference to FSC-certified paper.
  • Norm Thompson Outfitters removed all references to SFI in print materials and websites and committed to avoid promotion of SFI.
  • King Arthur Flour stopped using the SFI logo on its catalogs and switched to FSC certified paper.
  • AT&T committed to avoid using the SFI logo and name in its materials, and to give purchasing preference to FSC certified products for all new paper purchases.
  • State Farm changed the paper for its biggest promotional item, the State Farm Road Atlas, from SFI to FSC – and committed to state a preference for FSC when the company revises its comprehensive paper policy.
  • U.S. Bank committed to avoid using the SFI name and logo on printed materials and other company communications, and to use only the FSC seal when a forest eco-label is used.
  • Comcast committed to steps that will avoid future company promotion of SFI.
You can read my analysis on the latest round in the fight on the credibility of the SFI certification and its implications on Triple Pundit.

More articles on this issue:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Al Gore's Climate Change Reality Project - It starts today!

The one and only Al Gore is presenting today his latest climate change activism project. This one is called the Climate Reality Project: 24 Hours of climate change reality from all over the world. 

Here are more details from their website on this event that starts today:

What is 24 Hours of Reality?

24 Presenters. 24 Time Zones. 13 Languages. 1 Message. 24 Hours of Reality is a worldwide event to broadcast the reality of the climate crisis. It will consist of a new multimedia presentation created by Al Gore and delivered once per hour for 24 hours, representing every time zone around the globe. Each hour people living with the reality of climate change will connect the dots between recent extreme weather events — including floods, droughts and storms — and the manmade pollution that is changing our climate. We will offer a round-the-clock, round-the-globe snapshot of the climate crisis in real time. The deniers may have millions of dollars to spend, but we have a powerful advantage. We have reality.

When is 24 Hours of Reality?

24 Hours of Reality will be broadcast live online from September 14 to 15, over 24 hours, representing 24 time zones and 13 languages.

Where is 24 Hours of Reality?

From Tonga to Cape Verde, Mexico City to Alaska, Jakarta to London, people living with the impacts of climate change every day will tell their story. You can experience as much as you like without even leaving your home. Click here to find the location — or locations — where you would like to watch a presentation. Due to logistical considerations, three of the presentations will be broadcast remotely from New York — Tonga, the Solomon Islands and French Polynesia — but will include local footage and information. All other presentations will be filmed on location around the world.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant trees for your books!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Is Books-A-Million going to follow Borders into bankruptcy?

Last month it was announced that Books-A-Million agreed to acquire lease interest in 14 of Borders stores for $934,209. Yet last week GalleyCat reported that Books-A-Million will close four outlets. Add to it 11 percent decrease in sales in the last quarter and you start wondering not only if Books-A-Million made the right decision buying Borders' stores, but also if they're actually able to stay in business or will follow Borders into bankruptcy.

I looked into it and found five signs that Books-A-Million, now the second-largest bookseller might be heading into trouble:

1. Sales are shrinking - Last month the company reported on its second quarter results:  

"Net sales for the 13-week period ended July 30, 2011 decreased 11.4% to $106.4 million from net sales of $120.0 million in the year-earlier period. Comparable store sales for the second quarter declined 12.9% compared with the 13-week period in the prior year. Net loss for the second quarter was $2.9 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, compared with net income of $1.9 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, in the year-earlier period.

For the 26-week period ended July 30, 2011, net sales decreased 11.2% to $210.4 million from net sales of $237.0 million in the year-earlier period. Comparable store sales declined 13.1% compared with the same period in the prior year." 

Why? Commenting on the results, Clyde B. Anderson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Results for the quarter reflect a continuation of the trends that have been affecting our business since the beginning of the year. A soft publishing lineup, the effect of e-book migration and the impact of Border's liquidation all contributed to the decline in comparable store sales. In this environment we have been focused on further developing the growth categories in our stores in preparation for the second half of the year while our balance sheet remains strong."

What are exactly the "growth categories" they focus on further developing? It's not clear. Somehow I find this explanation as well as action plan not very reassuring to say the least.

2. Cash reserves are down by almost 40% - Although CEO Anderson said "balance sheet remains strong", you see that cash is down by 38% compared to the end of January 2011. The company has now only 4.8 million in cash and almost 95% of its assets are in its inventory ($192.3 million out of total current assets of $203.7 million) - again, not very relaxing given the fast changes the book business is experiencing. 

3. The stock market does not believe in Books-A-Million - If you had $300 on January 1, 2011 and decided to invest $100 in Amazon, $100 in Barnes and Noble and $100 in Books--Million, your investments would generate you the following return as of yesterday:

1/3/2011 9/9/2011    Return
Amazon 184.22 211.39 14.75%
B&N 15.42 11.38 -26.20%
Books-A-Million 5.86 2.6 -55.63%

The company in its latest annual report explains that "recent market volatility has exerted downward pressure on our stock price, which may make it more difficult for us to raise additional capital in the future."

4. No clear strategy for the brick and mortar stores - Books-A-Million presently operates 232 stores in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Just like with B&N it's not clear what's company's strategy to transform these stores back into an asset. The vast majority of the company's revenues come from bookstores and therefore lack of clear strategy is creating a risk and puts in question the company's ability to increase its sales.

5. No e-reader - Just like Borders, Books-A-Million didn't develop an e-reader of its own and sells B&N's Nook. It means the company is more limited in growing its digital sales and is very much depended on B&N and their success to keep developing the Nook. Bottom line: Books-A-Million does not have the same digital cushion B&N has.

I hope I'm wrong, but Books-A-Million seems to be vulnerable now. If they won't be able to find the right strategy for their brick and mortar business they can be very soon in the same position  Borders found itself not too long ago.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant trees for your books!

Friday, September 9, 2011

My article on Triple Pundit on how Allstate reduced its paper use, saving both trees and money

Here's an update on a new article I published today on Triple Pundit on Allstate's achievement to cut its paper use internally by 41 percent and externally (customer focused reductions by eliminating unnecessary customer bill documents for example) by 12 percent, saving not just many trees but also a lot of money!

The article is entitled "Allstate Cutting Paper Use Drastically, Saving Both Trees and Money". Here's the first paragraph of the article

The insurance company Allstate uses a lot of paper – in 2009 it used approximately 3.7 billion sheets, equal to approximately 450,000 trees. So it’s not surprising that the company identified paper reduction as one of its top environmental priorities, setting a goal of reducing overall office paper use by 25 percent by 2010. In their latest CSR report, which was released earlier this week, Allstate is revealing that it actually did much better, reducing its office paper use last year by 41 percent.

To read the full article go to

Links to other articles I wrote for Triple Pundit can be found at

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is Amazon killing independent bookstores by not collecting sales tax? Not really..

After reading on David Streitfeld's article on the New York Times on Amazon's efforts to avoid collecting sales tax in California (as well as other states), I was thinking about the importance of this refusal on independent bookstores.

The problem? "Any Californian who buys a book or a DVD player from Amazon is supposed to pay a use tax when filing state taxes. In practice, however, few do." And Bill Dombrowski, head of the California Retailers Association, adds "Amazon is killing our business in bricks-and-mortar stores."

I believe Amazon's refusal to collect sales tax is wrong and immoral, but is it really killing indie bookstores? I decided to check it out.

I heard yesterday a great book review of Maureen Corrigan on "The Submission" by Amy Waldman and decided to check what happens if I live in Novato, California and want to purchase this book. For my unscientific experiment I compared an online order from three independent bookstores located in San Francisco (The Booksmith, City Lights Books, Green Apple Bookstore) and an online order from Amazon.

  Amazon  City Lights  Booksmith      Green Apple
Book price 13.68 26 26 27
Shipping 3.99 10 8 5.9
Tax 0 2.21 2.21 2.3
Total 17.67 38.21 36.21 35.2

Sales tax as part of the difference between the store and Amazon:

11% 12% 13%

Bottom line: What kills indie bookstores is the fact that Amazon sells books in half price and provides much cheaper shipping. Not the sales tax. Even if Amazon will start paying sales tax tomorrow (and they definitely should), indie books are still going to be in trouble with such a difference in costs.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The new book Ligeia/Bryndt has joined the 100 trees Project!

If you like books about journeys, both inner and outer ones, you should take a look in the new book Ligeia/Bryndt by Silas Jackson and Juilan Traas, which follows the inner and outer journeys of two unlikely companions, who are bound to each other by an immutable destiny they cannot understand.

We're also happy to update you that this great book
has just joined the "100 Trees Project"!

This joint program was launched by Infinity Publishing, a leading self-publishing company together with Eco-Libris to promote environmental sustainability among its authors. Through the program, authors that publish with Infinity are able to plant 100 trees for the title they publish. These authors 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.

What's this book is about? Ligeia/Bryndt follows the inner and outer journeys of two unlikely companions, who are bound to each other by an immutable destiny they cannot understand. One, an elfin priestess, has suffered unspeakable atrocities at the hands of humanity. Her heart torn asunder by profound inner conflict, Ligeia seeks to balance the peaceful ideals of her clement, harmless teachers against the seething rage which fills her. The other, a human warrior, has been exiled from his own land. He bitterly regrets the things he has done, yet sees no way to be redeemed.

About the authors:
Silas D. L. Jackson - Silas D. L. Jackson lives in the quaint New England home he was born in, beside a tranquil lake. He derives most of his inspiration from his study of Yoga, where he contorts his body just so, in a room just super-heated enough, as to spark hallucinations about interesting characters and fantastical storylines.

Julian R. Traas - Julian R. Traas was born in France. Buffeted between continents throughout his formative years, he landed just north of Atlanta, Georgia. A trilingual college student trapped in the attempt to take life less than seriously, Julian’s true love is writing.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The rise of ebooks and the consequent fall of paperbacks

Julie Bosman had an interesting article yesterday on the New York Times on the falling sales of paperbacks, which is actually more on the rise of ebooks and the consequent fall of paperbacks.

She writes there:

"A comprehensive survey released last month by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group revealed that while the publishing industry had expanded over all, publishers’ mass-market paperback sales had fallen 14 percent since 2008."

Why? David Gernert, a literary agent whose clients include John Grisham, a perennial best seller in mass market, explains on the article that “e-books have bitten a big chunk out of it”and Matthew Shear, the executive vice president and publisher of St. Martin’s Press adds “in some ways, the e-book is yesterday’s mass market.”

Is it a bad or good trend? I actually think this is the wrong question. Even if e-books are not responsible for 100 percent of the fall of he paperback sales, I guess their rise as a convenient and cheap alternative makes paperback books a less valuable option and therefore a product less people want to purchase.

Although some people in the book industry, like Michael Connelly, the best-selling mystery writer best known for “The Lincoln Lawyer,” are worried of this trend and afraid that "book buyers would not be able to discover new authors very easily if mass-market paperbacks continued to be phased out," I think they'll find out that the electronic format, coupled with more online presence of authors and publishers, actually has the potential to increase the exposure of book buyers to new authors and not reduce it.

So what would you read this Labor Day - would it be a paperback or an ebook? Or maybe both? Feel free to share your choice with us.

Image credit: umpcportal, Flickr Creative Commons