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14.05.2008 :: partner


by Olga Apostolova :: Comments (0) :: (Read 4789 times)

According to Greenpeace 350 m tons of paper are used each year worldwide in book publishing and every two seconds we lose forest the size of a football pitch.
I was in London recently and picked up a few paperbacks… as you do. The connection between paper and trees has been on my mind quite a bit lately and although I have cut down on most paper products (to this end I don’t own a printer and have consistently refused business cards) books have never entered the equation.

However the reality of the book publishing business is grim. Greenpeace have campaigned vigorously for greener standards in the industry and, to be fair, judging by the paperbacks in my backpack have done well. At least half of the books I now own are printed on recycled or FSC certified paper. As I pick up the books and decide whether to purchase them or not, I find myself looking for this reassuring information more and more. The Rose of Sebastopol, the best selling novel by Katharine McMahon, almost doesn’t make it because Phoenix Fiction have not bothered to take into account the sensibility of us,environmentalists. It’s hard to boycott art though and I compromise.

According to Greenpeace 350 m tons of paper are used each year worldwide and every two seconds we lose forest the size of a football pitch. Worst affected are Russian, Finnish and Canadian forests. One of the most ancient forests in the world – Boreal forest in Canada – has been halved due to demands from the book publishing industry.

Looking on the bright side, since the year 2000 at least 6 m books have bee published on recycled paper and the number is growing steadily. Random House, Penguin, Egmont in the UK (sadly not in Bulgaria) and Gallimard are among the leaders in green book publishing. They print all or most of their books on recycled or FSC certified paper. Scholastic Inc, the publishers of Harry Potter in the States made a huge point by printing the last book on environmentally friendly paper. They estimated that this move saved 220 000 trees. Writers that support green book publishing include J.K. Rowling, Ian Rankin, Isabel Allende, Margaret Atwood, Yann Martel.

Like so much of this environmental stuff, book publishing also seems to require making a stand. On the one hand it’s the authors who are getting involved, on the other it’s us – the readers who need to expect more. It’s age old consumer pressure. So here goes – I will write to Phoenix Fiction and let them know that I will not buy their next bestseller unless they make an effort to take care of the environment. And I really don’t care if we are talking about the next Harry Potter or anything…

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