Settling in for my flight the other day, I was thinking about how being a frequent traveler affects the environment. I went through my mental checklist of how I had made my trip as green as possible:
I purchased carbon offsets for my flight. I used public transportation to get to the airport. I brought my own food and water for the flight in reusable bags and bottles so that I wouldn’t use all the plastic and napkins they give you on the plane. I even chose my hotel based on some eco-friendly practices research.
Feeling pretty good about myself, I sat back to enjoy the flight and pulled out my book. Then it hit me- a paper book! Why didn’t I have an ebook?
As an ebook author and someone who is always looking to lower his carbon footprint, I had no idea. So, I used my book to jot down some notes on why ebooks are better than paper books.
Why Ebooks Are Better:
1. Ebooks have a low carbon footprint. To make a paper book, you need to cut down a tree, burn fossil fuels to transport and process the wood, burn them again to transport the paper, burn them again to put it through the printing process, and use energy to produce and transport the final product. I don’t even know how to calculate that, but I do know that my ebook uses somewhere close to the same amount of energy it takes to boil water a few times. No trees involved.
2. Ebooks cost less. On average, ebooks cost less to purchase than paper books. With no printing or distribution costs, you can still get all of the information without paying the same price.
3. Ebooks can be shared. If I want my brother to read the book that I’m reading, he’ll have to wait for me to finish it and pass it on. If I want him to read the ebook I’m reading, I can get it to him instantly.
4. Ebooks are easy to carry. For everyone who loves the feel and size of a book, you can download ebooks to a Kindle. I can see book lovers sneering, thinking about how they love the feel and smell of their paperbacks. Do you love how heavy they are when you travel? Do you love that you can only bring 1 or 2 along with you? Do you love that you take up massive storage space in your home or travel bag with them? I don’t. With the Kindle or my computer I can bring as many books as I want, carry them all in one piece and store them in my carry-on. Do I miss paper books? A little. Kind of like missing the typewriter I used to use 20 years ago to write things. You with me?
I still enjoyed reading my paper book- like a lot of things I got used to after being raised in a society with a high carbon footprint, I’ll always have a soft spot for them. But, I do think ebooks are better in so many ways. Next time, I’ll be reading an ebook.