Sustainable Book Practices
By Ariana Forsman

According to a 2012 report by the National Wildlife Federation, at least 640,000 tons of books are thrown away each year. “At an assumed average weight of 4 pounds each, that equates to approximately 320 million books that are discarded each year and not being recycled."[1] At Word Alive Press, we promote a love of reading, but also want to encourage all readers to be good stewards of our resources. How can we all be more sustainable in our book practices?

Donate and Buy Used

When you’ve finished a book or own a book that you don’t see yourself reading again in the future, there are many options for donating your titles. Check if your local public library, school library, or church library takes donations. Give to a local second-hand shop or used bookstore, and while you’re there, check out the book section to see if they have any of the titles you’ve been looking for. Little Free Libraries are another wonderful option for both donating used books and acquiring new-to-you books (for locations, you will find a map here.

Borrow and Lend

If you’ve finished a book and loved it, can you think of others who would also love it? Why not pass on an enjoyable book to a friend or family member, asking them to “pay it forward” when they’ve finished it.

Before purchasing a book, check if your library has it. You can also ask your family, friends, and church family if any of them would be willing to lend you their copy.

Start a Group Study

Joining a book club is a great way to read a good book and engage in meaningful fellowship. The group leader can purchase the book and read a chapter aloud at each meeting, and all can participate in some thoughtful discussion (and hopefully some snacks too!)

Buy Local

When purchasing a new book, try to buy from locally owned small businesses. This is a great way to not only help the environment but also your local economy. When purchasing new, look for books with the FSC label to support responsible forestry.[2]

Consider Paperless Options

eBooks remain popular for some readers. They’re an especially good option for those with less space for physical books, and those looking for a lower price on new books. Keep in mind that purchasing an eReader may not be the most sustainable option, consider using eBook apps on devices you already own. Another paperless option is audiobooks. When you’re driving to work, or doing the dishes, why not listen to a good book too!! Many local libraries also offer audiobooks and/or eBooks.

We hope you feel inspired to implement some greener book habits this Earth Day and beyond!



About this Contributor:

Ariana Forsman is a Project Manager at Word Alive Press. She is an avid reader and lives in Petersfield with her husband and her daughter.

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