It is Earth Week this week, and while we should always be working on reducing our environmental impact one should take special consideration this week in particular.
In grade school they started teaching us about environmentalism with the concept of the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. (A campaign which made much more grammatical sense to my young mind than the previous three R's I was told to endorse: Reading, (W)riting, and (A)rithmatic). The idea behind it being that first you reduce your consumption, then reuse items when you cannot reduce, and lastly when the item is no longer of use to you or anyone else you know, recycle it so that it may be turned into something of use once more.
All of us at BookFinder.com do a lot of reading and so we wanted to take a look at what kind of environmental impact our hobby and our industry have on the environment. I take a lot of joy from reading and out of all my activities that are potential harm to the earth it is one of the last that I will cut back on so I was happy to find that I was already doing a small part by mostly reading used books.
We found that the creation of every book produces 8.85lbs of carbon dioxide, and that shipping a book 2,123 miles (or 3,417 Km) by media mail only produces about 1.7lbs of C02 (ie: San Francisco to Chicago). So even when shipping a used book across North America you are still producing less carbon than if you had bought a new book in your own town.
There are times when I have to buy a book new, sometimes I just can't wait to read a new authors work, or when I was in school I could not always find the textbooks I wanted used; but with used books being both better for the environment and easier on your pocketbook I think it is an easy decision to make.
So get into earth week and read a used book!