Kindle Versus Paper Books: A MOGO Choice

Last month I bought a Kindle. I decided to get a Kindle for several reasons, and below you’ll find the pertinent information that led to my decision:

1) I read about 100 books every year – most are from the library, but often the books I want to read aren’t at my library, and I have to order them through interlibrary loan. I can order up to five at a time, and when they arrive I usually only have two weeks before I have to return them. When five arrive, I feel under the gun to read them all quickly.
2) I buy books I want to refer to or reread, but it’s often difficult to know which books these will be unless I have an awfully long time in a bookstore to read a lengthy portion. And I can’t peruse them enough on to make a determination.
3) I also buy books in airports rather than bring a heavy library book on my trips that I’ll have to return home with. Since I fly a lot for work, this means I frequently buy paperbacks I’ll never reread just to have something for the journey.

I reasoned that a Kindle would be a great tool to have for several reasons:

1) I wouldn’t have to order so many books through interlibrary loan.
2) I could get samples of any Kindle book and determine whether I wanted to buy the book at my leisure.
3) I could save so much paper (forests), fuel for book transportation, and prevent toxic inks from entering the waste stream and dioxins used in paper bleaching from contaminating rivers.

In other words, I determined that a Kindle would be a MOGO choice. On the whole, it would do the most good and least harm to me, other people, animals, and the environment.

Then my husband and I got into a debate. He pointed out that I really didn’t know the product lifecycle for a Kindle, the toxins inside it, the costs to people, animals, and the environment from mining the component ores, the recycling protocol, the lifespan for an average Kindle, and the effects on booksellers, libraries, and community bookstores. How many paper books, for example, would it take to offset all the costs involved in a Kindle? Although I felt pretty confident a Kindle was MOGO, how did I really know?

Well it turns out someone has done some of this analysis. The Cleantech Group researched a few of these questions and concluded that E-readers are greener in terms of carbon emissions than paper books. You can read a synopsis of their analysis.

I’m relieved to know that what I thought was a MOGO choice turns out to be one, at least in terms of carbon emissions.

I really love my Kindle.

And three of my books are available on it, which makes me happy, too.

Good reading,

Zoe Weil
Author of Most Good, Least Harm and Above All, Be Kind (both available on via Kindle)

Image courtesy of goXunuReviews via Creative Commons.

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