Friday, May 02, 2008

Save Trees, Swap Books

A passionate plea from Charlotte Northedge, on the Guardian's environmental pages, for readers to swap books rather than buy new ones.

Here's a scary fact uncovered by Greenpeace :
... one Canadian spruce produces just 24 books, which means that if you get through one book every two weeks your reading habits destroy almost one large tree every year.
The article has links to lots of book swap sites on the internet. (More here.) In the Klang Valley, there's a very active BookCrosser group who meet regularly to swap book and talk about them. They're going to be at KLAB tomorrow.

I wanted to save a few trees myself and decided finally to go and buy a Sony Reader and join the valiant e-book set. Of course the sales assistant in the Sony shop hadn't even heard of it!!!

(This was the same assistant who had told me sniffily some time before that Sony doesn't sell cassette tapes because the technology has moved on ... even though the voice recorders in the show case were the kind which use cassettes. Duh!)


Glenda Larke said...

In other words, let's not have any books at all? Swap books, don't buy new ones. Sounds great for the publishing industry and writers. I love not being paid for my work, don't you?

bibliobibuli said...

so true. but the wastefulness of the industry does have to be addressed. personally i think print-on-demand will be the direction publishing will take.

animah said...

I'm bringing 24 books to KLAB. Just counted them. I'll bring them in batches of 2 over the 2 days.

bibliobibuli said...

i'm bringing a few too!

Anonymous said...

Yea don't buy new ones... save some trees, never mind that the trees are planted to produce paper for books :)

What are they gonna do next, try to save the paid in the padi fields ? :)

jan said...

dear anonymous,

and where do you think they get the fertile land to plant trees to produce more paper for books?? whoops that means clearing forested land for the 'right trees'!!

in sarawak, and sabah, prime rainforest land is being cleared to produce non-native trees for pulp and paper, for example.

please do think before trying to be sarcastic.

Anonymous said...


They would have been cleared for timber anyway wouldn't they ? I mean Sarawak sells timber. The clear itr, they sell the timber, some of which goes towards books. Then they regrow it.

Linguisome said...

I just purchased a Kindle from Amazon and I think that could be the best solution (Sony also produces such 'e-book'). Although it may be a bit pricey, I think it already is a good investment. I've bought three books all at a price so much lower than if I had bought the real books and I don't have to worry about finding shelf space. Also, when I travel, it's as though I am carrying all the books in one device. You can also download pdf. files (although I haven't gone that far yet) and there is a USB port 'if you happen to have more stuff'. Although it's an electronic device, it doesn't need as much energy like the laptop.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. if I drop it, does it break ? If I lie on it ? that happens to me a lot with real books. I'm always reading. I read while I eat.. sometimes the book falls in the food (oops.) I read in the pool as well, so sometimes it falls in the water. I've knocked books off edges of tables too. My main worry is what happens if I drop it (and I do that a lot.)

And some new books are already $3 here in Malaysia anyway.

Chet said...

Neither the Kindle nor the Sony Reader are available in Malaysia. Or, as far as I know, anywhere else in the world except the States.

The closest to an ebook reader would be a PDA. I use one - the Palm TX - which I often use while having breakfast at IKEA. And the way I hold it - upright in one hand instead of flat on the table - protects it from food or drink.

linguisome said...

The kindle comes with a leather cover which helps make it a bit more durable so if it falls, it doesn't break easily. I read while I eat too, and although so far I haven't spilled anything, the screen can be easily wiped clean. As far as reading it by the water, you got me there anonymous... lol.
I'm still a new user to the Kindle, so I won't say it's incredible yet, but it is working the way I expected it to. The pages actually look like a page from a book, so it's not like reading from a laptop screen.
One thing I will miss doing since I got this Kindle is walking around a bookstore, browsing and flipping through the pages of different books. You can still check out some of the pages online, but that's a different feeling, know what I mean?

I wonder if it will be introduced in Malaysia eventually.

Anonymous said...

If twenty years ago you told me that a Malaysian would be reading off a Palm TX while having breakfast at Ikea... :)

People are so rich these days, that Palm must cost over Rm1000.

Anonymous said...

If it works for you then that's great. I'd miss the pressure the books have on your hand when you hold it. Actually I think I'd miss turning the page as well.

It's kind of odd to not be turning a page when you read. It must be sort of like having an inflatable partner.

I think it will catch on though, and everyone will be doing it soon. Paper books will be obsolete, and machines will replace writers soon enough.

panda_head_curry said...

We moved from stone tablets to papyrus to pulped trees. It's only natural to move to electronic print.

I no longer subscribe to journals or buy the newspapers. If I find an article of interest, I simply print as PDF and save.

Right now I use my Treo with a GPRS connection to read the newspapers. I had some eBooks on it but the screen's just too small for comfortable reading.

I'm personally looking forward to the Kindle or similar ...particularly something where I can increase font sizes and lighting to suit my reading requirements.

There are some instances where I still would purchase hard copies, graphic novels and comics, for example.

linguisome said...

I totally love my Kindle for that reason i.e. I can enlarge or minimize font size, and it really feels like I am holding a book.

Because it is still new, there are very limited number of books available, and I am hoping that this will eventually come to pass.

However, I am very curious as to how it will work for comics although the Kindle screen does show good graphics.

Oh yeah, I am quite a 'post-it' person with my books, but I can no longer do that with the Kindle. I haven't checked out if it includes any highlighting feature but I am pretty sure I can bookmark the content. Also, you can instantly get the definition of words on the Kindle.

bibliobibuli said...

kindle or sony reader or whatever comes next. i want one!

linguisome - i also stick post it notes on pages - the full page sized ones are great for making notes - and i need to do that all the time when i'm reviewing

Mrb said...

Hm.. we'll have to see what we can do about that :) I read for exzperience, I don't regard books as bunches of words on a page, but rather as an imagination aid, a movie but in text instead of pictures.

Who on earth is Mrb and why am I posting as him ? :0

linguisome said...

Yes, that's one habit I am finding hard to break i.e. using post-it for notes and to mark pages. I guess that's how I "interact" with the books I am reading. For some reason, those books, I don't generally swap (and most were textbooks I used for school.)

I was going to ask "why swap just books?" when I realize that although newspapers and magazine are printed more often, newspapers especially are usually sent for recylcing. Speaking of, and this does make me a bit nostalgic about Malaysia, are those newspaper men still around? I remember those people going round neighborhoods buying bulks of newspapers from homes.

Oh, and talk about how easy it is for books to get published in the US, writers can now also try to publish their books on the Kindle. That's another feature I am trying to read about, not that I have anything to publish, but I am curious as to how the editing will take place. I wonder if that will result in further language change.

panda_head_curry said...

I would assume (hope) that ebooks would come with a bookmark and annotation (text or scrawls) functionality. You can already do this with pdf files and Adobe.

Anonymous said...

linguisome, the newspapermen are still around, only now they drive vans and have loudhailers :)

Chet said...

panda_head_curry - bookmarks and annotation would depend on the reading software, not the ebooks themselves.

I use eReader on my Palm TX, and it allows bookmarking, which shows as a turned corner on the top right corner of the screen. You can have as many bookmarks as you like and to get to a particular one, you go to the bookmark section where they're all listed. Click on one and you're taken to that particular page.

eReader also has a Notes section which I think is similar to annotation, except it doesn't show up on the margins but in a section by itself.