I think e-books are terrific. They are simple. Literally, there is no physical product, and nothing bulky to carry around. The e-book itself is just a digitally formatted version of a print book. You can pack a thousand or more e-books into a small laptop computer or a reading device no larger in size than thick magazine like Vanity Fair or Atlantic Monthly.
But are e-books green? In a word: absolutely. In my opinion, they are the greenest way to read.
Since printing and binding a traditional book uses paper, ink, and other materials and creates an estimated 3 kilograms (about 6.6 lbs.) of greenhouse gas emissions, e-books are boldly green. They come in a digital format-just electrons and code. E-Books don’t require traditional transportation and delivery either-they are downloaded directly onto your computer or e-book reader. It is difficult to accurately compare with the carbon footprint of reading digital books, but regardless of how one tries to calculate it, reading on screen is much greener than reading on paper since about 70 per cent of the emissions derived from books derive from just the paper they are printed on. About the only thing comparable in greenness would be buying used books or checking books out at the library, as this also avoids the expense and materials of producing new copies.
At about 3 per cent of the current book market, e-books are only starting to make their impact. Their accelerating popularity has created a near frenzy among both the producers of e-books and the developers of electronic devices for downloading and reading them.
Another benefit to e-books is that they cost less than traditional books. Pricing has been around 10 dollars for a newly published book, compared to about twice that much for a traditional print version.
You can use your computer or a dedicated E-Book Reader to download and read these wonderful digital inventions, and you have a few options. Four of the most popular are listed below.
Amazon Kindle 2: This is one of the earliest and best-known devices, with a large number of available titles. The Kindle 2 is sold by Amazon, and can be purchased-naturally-on line. The basic version is $259; the Kindle DX has a larger screen and more capacity and costs $489.
Sony Reader Digital Book PRS-600BC: The Sony entry is comparable to the Kindle Basic. It costs about $300.
The iPad: This is the new entry from Apple, of course. The iPad sports the usual cool design and features, along with the Apple coolness factor. It cost a bit more, starting at $499, but contains more features.
ASUS DR-900: Pre-announced and just being readied for launch as of this writing (March 2010). Designed to compete with the Kindle, but with a larger screen than the basic version and “more features” according to the manufacturer. Price still to be announced.
Living a greener lifestyle includes thinking green even when you want to buy and read a book. By buying e-books you will be shopping greener and living a greener lifestyle. And there is another not-to-be-overlooked bonus: you will be saving money as well.
Steve Stillwater is passionate about developing a greener lifestyle, and he wants to help you incorporate easy-to-implement green living ideas into your life. He offers ideas and tips on easy ways to create a greener lifestyle that can also save you money at http://www.livinggreenandsavingenergy.com. Sign up for his free newsletter and get 2 Free Reports: 1) 10 Easy Ways to Save Gas and 2) 2010’s Top 20 Fuel Efficient Cars.