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Old 02-04-2009, 12:26 PM   #1
Chrisrennau
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How Green is your reader?

After reading several popular press articles about digital readers it appears that the industry itself is very slow to develop. The biggest issue appears to be the price of the devices and the price of the content. Prices will come down as the market develops; but why not help give it a push?

When Toyota first released the prius many American car manufactures dismissed the automobile based on pricing. The car cost more, and the difference in gas mileage did not justify the cost. Instead American companies taunted low interest rates and purchase prices and were able to show that one would actually save money purchasing a less efficient cheaper automobile. The American car companies did not seem to take into account the green consumers. To them it was not about price it was about environmental impact. These customers were willing to pay more for something they valued.

Regardless of which e-reader you own think about how green it is. I currently have about 150 books on my reader, (at a good 200 pages or more each). I read about 4 to 6 books a week. How many trees would go into those books in my lifetime if they were paper? How much fuel would be used to transport those books to the store? How much fuel would I use traveling back and forth to stores and libraries? How many classic books would have to be reproduced if I bought them at the store instead of getting them here for free,(according to sales of classics at Barnes and Noble; Quite a few)? Last of all how much waste does it produce when people dispose of books? Now multiply those numbers by the millions of people who read regularly around the world.

I am not suggesting that the entire paper publishing industry should be replaced because it is environmentally unfriendly. That would make print unaivalable to many people around the world. What I am suggesting is awareness or marketing of the green effect of digital media. I have noticed that a large percentage of environmentaly consious people are; well for the most part well read people. I have noticed vary little "green" advertising from the digital reader industry; especially from Sony and Amazon which seem to be the two most popular. I am suggesting that awareness of the green effect may foster a lot of support from a section of the population that reads regularly and does not make every decision based on price. Such support may help support a struggling industry through a difficult time and bennefit everyone in the future.

Send an e-mail to your favorite e-reader manufacture with such a suggestion. Its also one more topic of discussion you can use when your trying to explain to someone why you spent $300 or more on such a device and they respond with " thats all it does."
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:40 PM   #2
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Did you come from Fark.com?

Read an Ebook week is tackling this idea, I believe.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:54 PM   #3
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I think one of the things the critics miss when they talk about Priuses or Kindles or whatever else they're trying to tear down is that it's usually not about just one thing. It's easy to support their argument and write a snappy article if you oversimplify but that's not how most of us make our choices. If your only goal in buying a car is to save money than the Prius will not beat a bare bones, used economy car. When I was looking at cars, I wanted something fuel-efficient and green. That was my number one priority, but I had others. I wanted something comfortable, that rode well, that had enough power to merge onto my treacherous local freeways at 65 without getting smushed by a Hummer driver balancing a cell phone and a latte. This ruled out the small, old economy car (which I already had) as well as the 1st gen Prius and Honda Insight (great mileage, only two seats). These were all less expensive and could be had used. I wanted something nicely appointed if I could have it, too, but I didn't want to spend a tremendous amount of money. As far as size, quality of ride and features, the Prius is more like a Camry or Accord. Compare the price to that over the lifetime and you come out ahead, especially with higher gas prices. So, I'm getting more of what I want for less money than I would have paid. It's not less than the absolute least I could pay but that wasn't my only other option nor was it the option I was likely to take.

When I decided to move to ebooks, part of it was about the environment. It was also about convenience and not cluttering up my house with more books I can't store that just gather dust and make me sneeze. Saving money wasn't a consideration. As it is, I saved money over my previous book buying habits. I used to buy a lot of new releases as well as paperbacks. I would try to buy books to last me a month or so at a time. Some books I didn't like well enough to finish. Some I changed my mind about and didn't start. I would go to the library or used stores sometimes but old paper books, as I said, make me sneeze so I would often times leave with nothing. This is admittedly not a frugal way of feeding my habit. With Amazon's free sample chapters, I haven't bought a book without finishing it and the new releases are a lot cheaper than hardbacks. I get lots of free PD and library books, too. I have paid for the Kindle with my savings over my old habit. If my old habit had been only borrowing books from the library and friends, buying used, and reading free ebooks on a device I already had, like my phone, then I'd be in the hole both financially and environmentally. It's about finding the balance between all your priorities.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:25 PM   #4
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I agree with both Chrisrennau and Alisa. I think that they should mention the green aspect of Ebooks. I know that is one reason I wanted a Kindle. Other reasons were lack of storage for more books, saving money on books, reading more classics, convenience of having them all with me at the same time, and the wireless download ability. I have a tendency to read to many books at once also. So since I have all of them in one place and it keeps track of where I was, its great for me. I don't have to worry about losing bookmarks etc. I think that reader devices are great because they are greener, can save money, can store lots of books and have adjustable font sizes. I am trying to sell my mom on one so we can share books and read together. She likes the adjustable font sizes. Unfortunately we don't have the same taste in books.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:53 PM   #5
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For me ebooks are just so much more convenient. I'm sure I've spent more for my readers and ebooks than I would have reading pbooks. However I can buy ebooks and have them more quickly. I can carry a multitude of ebooks more easily. I can choose the font size as my eyes dictate instead of squinting at too small text. And lastly my reader (most of the time) remembers where I was reading so I don't have to.
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:16 PM   #6
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I can honestly say that environmental issues were not even remotely a consideration for me when I started reading ebooks years ago, nor in my purchase of a dedicated reader. (Well, other than the "local" environment -- we started running out of bookshelf space a long time ago!)

We do own a Prius, though.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:50 PM   #7
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:14 PM   #8
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Trees are basically a crop. They are grown to be used. When they are cut down, they plant more, they grow, then they get cut down. The cycle goes on. The environmental saving would probably come more in the distribution process than anything else. Less trucks being used to deliver books to a store and things like that.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:47 PM   #9
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The processing, especially bleaching, can be rather toxic, though.
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:03 AM   #10
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arguments can be thought up in both ways if you simplify things...
Jut like the prius-naysayers, I can list some bad things about ereaders too.
"how much energy is the datacenter wasting selling you your ebooks?"
"how much energy are you wasting on charging your ereader?"
"how about the transport and boxing of your reader?"
"don't get me started on the production of the chips in your reader?"

In the end, you should buy something if it suits YOUR needs and don't use "green" as an argument.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:16 AM   #11
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We could all be greener by walking where ever we go. Not reading anything & eating only raw stuff (vegies & meat) and therefore dying young due to parasites & malnutrition thus making room for more people and vegetation.
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:10 PM   #12
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My eBook device isn't green at all, it's a shiny metallic silver.
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