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Old 08-21-2008, 09:40 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
You don't need a dedicated device to read e-books.
But that's exactly the way I like it! Give me one-trick pony any day....
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:23 AM   #62
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Absolutely eBooks are *MUCH* greener.

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Originally Posted by Falbe Publishing View Post
....

1. No paper is used to produce the copies, which includes the massive water and power usage needed for paper production and then for the printing.
2. No physical shipping is necessary, which means no gas/diesel use.

However, ebooks and their readers do all need a computer (mostly) and a reading device. Also the ebook distribution takes place on the internet (mostly) and the infrastructure of the internet uses vast amounts of power, which for the most part comes from fossil fuels.

I think that ebooks use less resources and cause less pollution than paper books. At the very least trees are not being cut down and pulped into celebrity memoirs (a great affront to Mother Nature).

I was wondering what other people thought on this subject.

Thanks.
The real question is about incremental costs/materials/energy required for eBooks. All the infrastructure - power plants, computers, internet, etc. - are already in place, already exist. We all have them and use them before and after eBooks about the same way. Therefore, the real questions are:

1) How much additional hardware do you use?

Well I had a Plam Zire before and replaced it with an eReader, so zero net change. I suspect most people have about the same number of gizmos as before, maybe on average bit more. The point is every person has a certain number of gizmos they use regardless of eReaders.

2) How much more energy do you use?

It should be obvious that by comparison energy used for eReaders is virtually zero. A single ride in a car to the mall or to movies consumes the energy that could power eReader for your lifetime. So additional energy used is nil.

3) How much more network bandwidth?

Again, books are so small compared to movies, music, etc. Even an average web page is loaded with graphics, Flash content, even small movies. So again additional bandwidth used for eBooks is nil.

In other words, the additional material and energy used for eReaders and eBooks is so tiny that it is virtually free. The biggest resource use is up front for an eReader. Once a device is built the actual operations is about as green as you can make anything in this world.

I won't even go into analysis of pBooks. Should be obvoius how wasteful it is. Especially as many books end up going back some place, getting destroyed or throw away.
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:44 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by axel77 View Post
...
eBooks are a a cool thing. But paper is also a great technology. Paper is made out of 100% renewable materials. Paper is more sustainable to aging than any electonic data material.
*IF* you control humidity levels *THEN* it can be durable. To the contrary, paper is very fragile as well know. What happened to paper in World Trade Center attack? Not to mention the difficulty of creating a backup copy of paper (copying, transport to another location, storage, etc)


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Paper is cheap in production.
The be 100% correct this was true in the past. However, you should keep in mind that from pulp to paper to printing a lot of energy is used. When energy was very cheap then paper was cheap. Of course, that is changing and paper production is becmoing more expensive every day.

I came accross a news item about a mill which had its own hydro plant for power. At one point they just stopped the machines and sold power as it was more lucrative than processing wood.

Bottom line is that paper may still be relatively cheap, but will only keep getting more and more expensive.

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Paper can be recycled to 100% with zero waste..
The same problem. Collection and recycling use energy which is becoming expensive. So it *CAN* be recycled but in practice it may be happening far leff often that we'd like.

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Paper does not require the user to have additional infrastructure to read it. I wouldn't carry paper to the grave all too fast. And to say just because something is *newer* than paper does not make it "better" by default. Like any possible would just take us futher away from stone age and thus more advanced ..

Society WILL have to change to sustainable ressources at some point. And no this does NOT take us back to stoneage, if we manage to make the right decissions at the right time. Currently it just doesn't look like it, humanity as whole has enough foresight...
The only way to avoid going back to stone age is to become much more economical in the use of energy. This is where most of the analysis fail miserably.

Consider the existing paper processing system:

1) forestry machines = gasoline/diesel
2) mill = electricity
3) transport = diesel/electricity

They all use either diesel/gasoline fuel from large processing planets (refinaries) or huge amounts of electricity from large power planets. As well all know all these plants are under pressure and cannot supply enough. Both refinaries are runnig near max capacity and nuclear planets, coal plants, etc. all generators are overloaded. China already has restrictions and rationing. So clearly the present paper processing system doesn't have enough energy available and what is available will become more and more expensive.

Now consider an eReader. You still need a plant of some sort to build it, fair enough. However, to recharge it a small solar panel is sufficient to recharge it in a day. So while it may still use electricity, you could actually generate it yourself because it needs so little. Even your home computer, router, etc. can be powered from your solar panels and wind turbines.

In other words, eBooks and eReaders are much more sustainable and easier to operate long term than paper.

In fact, forget books. What about nespapers. How much of a newspaper is *ACTUALLY* read on average???? I tend to find so little good content, I may read only 5% of a newspaper. So you are making all this paper and printing so many newspapers every day to end up consuming a mere 10%-20% of it!?!?!

It is much easier and cheaper to waste eNewspaper electrons than pNwespaper paper!

I also don't like new technology being promoted for simply being "new". That is a fair criticisam. However, when taking a critical look at a new technology like eBooks one should apply the same standards to older technology - paper.

There are massive wastes occuring at every step of paper processing. The main problem is that so much paper is simply never consumed even once!!!! Why is that problem not being examined, let alone addressed!!!!
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:51 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by grimo1re View Post
But that's exactly the way I like it! Give me one-trick pony any day....
I think Steve's point was that a dedicated reader is not the only device you can consume ebooks with. So, assuming the cost of a book reader for each person that reads into the equation isn't really valid. This is because many people will have other devices, phones, pdas, laptops, etc. that they can use. If ebooks are more readily available and priced right and easy to get those devices will be used as much, if not more than dedicated ebook reader devices.

BOb
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:51 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by axel77 View Post
A pbook is sustainable. As said made of 100% renewable material, with good treatment can last for several hundred years, high quality prints could even last for thousands of years. It is 100% recycleable... paper is one of the few techs that actually really works well!

eBook device have many advantages though, like quickly retrievable, easy carry, access anywhere, on complicated texts possibilities to have social tagging, quick access to additional information to a text, to dictionaries, and so on. I just don't consider environment as their primary sales point, nor is it IMHO a good idea to market it as such.
How much material and energy does "good treatment" require? How do you know that extra energy and material for good treatment is sustainable?

Again, without a special environment controlled space paper lasting hundreds and thousand years is not going to happen. Canada mostly had wooden forts and pallisades. Most are long gone now after only 200 years or so. And that was solid wood. Compared to a DVD disk in a simple plastic case you could simply bury in ground and it will last a long time.

As for environment ....
pBook will last *ONLY* when you keep humidity down. That is why we have paper from Egypt where dry deserts have very little moisture. However, most of the planet has a lot of moisture.

So tell me then, how much power will a dehumidifier use to keep your pBook intact for 1000 years????

You should realize that any way you look at it pBooks use far more energy and material than eBooks. It is no contest.
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:58 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by bob_ninja View Post
What happened to paper in World Trade Center attack?
Speaking of useless exaggerations... don't you want to make a nazi example also?

Quote:
So it *CAN* be recycled but in practice it may be happening far leff often that we'd like.
I depends on the country. In austria recycle works pretty well and every household is required to collect paper in a seperate basket.

Quote:
In fact, forget books. What about nespapers. How much of a newspaper is *ACTUALLY* read on average???? I tend to find so little good content, I may read only 5% of a newspaper. So you are making all this paper and printing so many newspapers every day to end up consuming a mere 10%-20% of it!?!?!
Just think about how much electronic energy you wasted with the excess use of interpunctation signs. Like a sentence is going to make moer sense the more interpunctation signs you use!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Other than that, this has already been mentioned in this thread, so thanks for repeating me
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:59 AM   #67
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Nice, you are avoiding to respond to any of my points. What happened????
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:03 AM   #68
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Nice, you are avoiding to respond to any of my points. What happened????
I refuse to argue sensefully on some levels of discussion! This includes redicolous exaggerations and overuse of punctations!!!!!!!!!!!! If the tone doesn't work you cannot even try to make any music.
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:28 AM   #69
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So far, this discussion seems to center around the consumer's perspective, or whether buying all paper books or all electronic books would have a higher environmental cost.

It might be more significant to look at this from the publishing perspective. Here in the U.S., publishers have been willing to accept returns from stores at full value for decades. This was a policy started during the depression to keep stores purchasing books when the economy was bad, and has not been changed. The net effect of this is that books are shipped, returned, warehoused, shipped again (sometimes even to the original store!), returned, etc. Add to this the fact that most published books are not successful sellers here, and you end up with a very large carbon footprint, and net pollution is high (trucks, climate controlled warehouses, climate controlled retail stores, production, recycling waste, etc). I'm aware that the rest of the world does not work this way, but publishers are having a hard time shifting away from this in the US. There is a nice article explaining this situation you can listen to on NPR's website: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=91461568 I'd suggest this as a fascinating program that is well worth listening to for the 7 minutes it runs.

Compared to that, a future where books, newspapers and magazines are shipped electronically certainly seems on the surface to be more desirable. There are issues that need to be addressed to "green" up the e-book industry, but the publishing industry in the U.S. is remarkably wasteful.
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:03 PM   #70
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This discussion (so long as it remains a discussion) is a perfect example of how little experience society has in figuring in total net costs to any item. In this case, total net costs can extend to materials harvesting/mining, factory production, transportation costs, energy usage, environmental maintenance, storage maintenance, pollution cleanup, recycling and mitigation... most of which has never been seriously figured into the costs of a single item before, but is generally left to business losses to record and taxes to clean up after.

As society comes to understand how much more strictly we will have to manage our resources in the future, these total net costs will become more prominent and better understood, and at some point, we should have the capacity to provide a dollar figure to the total cost of a single book. The field is (unfortunately) still young, and reliable figures are probably beyond any source. But for the moment, discussing the various factors should help everyone to understand just what-all is involved, and to what extent.

Translation: I love it when a good discussion comes together!
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:22 PM   #71
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This discussion (so long as it remains a discussion) is a perfect example of how little experience society has in figuring in total net costs to any item. In this case, total net costs can extend to materials harvesting/mining, factory production, transportation costs, energy usage, environmental maintenance, storage maintenance, pollution cleanup, recycling and mitigation... most of which has never been seriously figured into the costs of a single item before, but is generally left to business losses to record and taxes to clean up after.

As society comes to understand how much more strictly we will have to manage our resources in the future, these total net costs will become more prominent and better understood, and at some point, we should have the capacity to provide a dollar figure to the total cost of a single book. The field is (unfortunately) still young, and reliable figures are probably beyond any source. But for the moment, discussing the various factors should help everyone to understand just what-all is involved, and to what extent.

Translation: I love it when a good discussion comes together!
I totally agree here!

My main point so far has not been, that I'm convinced that paper is more environment friendly than eBooks. The point was, it isn't as obvious what is the greener tech as some want or believe it to be. And its pretty understandable why they aren't marketed as such. Since if you do, someone will come with a study how paper is more efficient. Then you need come up with a counter study, than someone has to make again a counter-counter-study and so on.

If we imagine the perfect market of the feature, every product might have environmental impact as one if not the greatest production factor. Think about the history of economics. At first economy worried about 3 major factors: capital, work and ground. Somewhere on the way ground was removed, since we seem to had enough and economy moving from agrar to industry, ground was not a factor worthy to worry about much. Now capital steadily increasing, as well as having an oversupply of work (thus the unemployed getting a problem in almost all industry nations)... the major future production factor might become environmental impact.

If we somehow magically manage to include all the external and environmental effects into the price of every product, we could trust on the market from itself to show us the greener tech. Then if something is cheaper its greener... Today you can almost guess it most times to be the other way around. The cheaper the more you can assume it took child labour, redicolous large transportation ways and so on.

Last edited by axel77; 08-21-2008 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:16 PM   #72
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This discussion (so long as it remains a discussion) is a perfect example of how little experience society has in figuring in total net costs to any item.
If you've ever heard Gary Hirshberg , CEO of Stonyfield Farms, speak (or read his book, Stirring it Up) you can see how complicated this is even for a company that is honestly trying to be green. It's amazing to listen to him talk about criticism of his yogurt containers, which are not recyclable in most places, but save millions of gallons of fuel per year because of their lighter weight.

To get to a true cost comparison of ebooks v pbooks would probably take an astonishing amount of thought, research and time.
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:21 PM   #73
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see here

http://www.csc.kth.se/sustain/public...aper_final.pdf

for a discussion of e-readers vs newspapers.

The same group plans to do a study on e-readers vs books later this year.

Here

http://www.newsociety.com/Publishers...late%20USA.pdf

looks at some of the impact of book publication.
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:42 PM   #74
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Is there some english version for this paper?
Unfortunately I don't know.

Steve, under 4.1 they talk about the ecological effects of bistable paper, which includes E Ink. Note that the study is quite dated, but given it as the source, we can say that the production of E Ink displays is relatively simple (compared to LCD), and that it requires fewer resources. They also mention the "black oil" or ink used by the E Ink displays, which used to be filled with titanium dioxide (=the white). That changed later; Wikipedia has more on it. In table 4.1 they refer to the titanium dioxide as toxicological questionable, but remember, this was the first technology and I think is not used any longer. Energy usage is obvious a big plus (compared to traditional display technologies) - chart 4.1. And because only few resource material is required to produce e-paper displays, so the study, and because of little known toxicological material, they consider the recycling of e-paper a relatively harmless process. Problematic is perhaps the separation of the materials at the end, as they are all "glued" together in some way or the other. Another problem for recycling is the fusion of display and control electronics.

But overall, if you look at table 4.2, most arrows are pointing down, which is a good thing, because they indicate an advantage in comparison to traditional LCD technologies.

Under 4.2 the studies continues talking about the overall life cycle assessment of e-paper, comparing it to traditional p-newspapers and online news. Chart 4.2 shows the absolute required energy to deliver the news. Note that UMTS/3G as the mobile connectivity shows the least favorable energy usage. It's possible that the picture has improved by now as technology advances.
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:37 PM   #75
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To get to a true cost comparison of ebooks v pbooks would probably take an astonishing amount of thought, research and time.
I think that would follow for most products. Like I said, it's a young discipline, and many of the inevitable tables, formulas, tracking methods, etc, that will be needed to make proper comparisons of net cost simply haven't been invented or standardized yet. It might make for a great new field for consultants, especially if figuring in net costs becomes mandatory in some cases, and financial responsibility must be established.

Could be a good book idea, as well... following such a consultant as he works for a new client and possibly uncovers some environmental coverup or other. (Daig... another idea I don't have time to write!...)
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