Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reduce paper waste with Amazon Kindle

I think I may be addicted to books.  I love owning them, seeing them on the shelf, and reading them too. However, some time ago I realized the absurd size and variety of my collection.  So, I stopped buying every book I got my hands on and actually started paring down and specializing my collection.  In the last 5 years,  I have reduced my library by 60% in size.  I started trading books, selling used books, and giving away books that have no special meaning. (Reuse and Reduce!)

These days, I am much more selective about the books that I buy and keep. Now, there are some books I keep because they have illustrations or graphic instructions. There are some, like field guides, that I want in paper format. Additionally, I have some special editions, and I also have some books that just hold sentimental value to me.

However, the bulk of my reading material is just text. In today's information age, there's no need to kill trees to distribute text. That information can be read digitally without processing wood or having to dispose of it after reading. (Reduce paper waste!)

That's one of the reasons why the Amazon Kindle is a sustainable solution, but there are many reasons. Now, I know I may be "preaching to the choir" about this since you are obviously not reading this on paper, but I am going to continue anyway.  Here's are the other reasons why reading digital format is a sustainable practice.

You can carry hundreds of books with you at one time without straining shoulders, taking up space in your book bag, or weighing down your carry-on baggage. (Reduce carrying weight.)

Because of all the free books available, when I average out how much I am paying per book, I am actually spending less on books than I was spending at the used book store.

You can backup your books to your pc, so there's no need to buy, secure, or store another bookcase. (Reduce storage!)

The device itself is wonderful, and I can see myself using it for many years - unlike our cell phones or hand-held mobile devices that are meant to be used for 1-2 years and then thrown away.  (However, they can be recycled - look for recycle centers in your area.)

Besides books, there are other types of content available through Amazon, Blogs (of course), Newspapers, Magazines, and others.  Plus, any Word or PDF file can be converted and read.

There are a couple of magazines that I love, but aren't available in Kindle format yet, so I emailed the editor and asked them to consider it.  I would pay to get the primary articles in Kindle format, especially if it had links to their website with the beautiful photographs.  So I urge you, if you cannot read the content you want in digital format, contact the editor and ask them to start publishing in a digital format. Make sure you mention that you are willing to pay for it and that you are looking forward to a future with less paper, more trees, and more digital format content.