Friday, July 22, 2011

Will consumers reward going green? Examining the case of the book industry

This is the subject of an article I wrote for the Independent, the magazine of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). The article was published last April and was added now to the public archive of the magazine.

The challenge the article is talking about is of course not unique to the book industry, but nevertheless due to the unique characteristics of books (not two books are the same), it makes this challenge even more difficult.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

Do most book consumers care about the environment? Definitely. Do they prefer buying books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper because of that? It depends.

Eco-conscious book consumers need to deal with the same issues that green consumers in general deal with, but they also have special dilemmas. Imagine, for example, a book reader who would love to read Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and who finds out that this great book is not printed on eco-friendly paper. Will the reader decide not to buy it and wait to get a copy in the local library? I doubt it.

A book is not a vegetable, a toothpaste, or a car. Book buyers can’t just choose a “green” book over a “regular” one and still get their needs met, only with some green added value. Each and every book is a unique product with distinctive features, which makes greening book purchases more difficult than greening almost anything else.

You can read the whole article on the Independent's website. I hope you will find it interesting!


Eco-Libris: Planting trees for your books