Posts Tagged ‘Environment’
I know this is a topic I’ve blogged about before but I’m having second thoughts. I’m beginning to think that the future of books is in electronics. There’s reasons for this and it’s to with three websites I’ve found this week.
Books are generally made out of wood pulp and that is getting harder and harder to grow. I understand that here in Australia we’re growing pine trees for the wood pulp industry but it takes year and years for the plantation to grow to be big enough to be of any use. There are countries around the world which is destroying their forests and using the wood to make paper and at some point they have to stop unless they plan on sacrificing their country for this purpose as at some point they will run out of forests to cut down. This is also not good for the animal population within the forest but I’ll leave someone else to write about that.
There are a lot of books published each year which are pulped as they are surplus to requirements. Some of them make their way out to the remaindered market and you’ll know which they are as they have a texta mark on either the top or the base or the cover will have a hole in it. Books sold as remaindered don’t make the author any money. To get some figures you can read this article.
One of the ways round all of this is to make books out of some other material which is more easily manufactured. There are a number of possibilities but they still rely on farming, although some of them rely on things that would normally be thrown out so that could be a bonus. Anyway, you can read the article for yourself, it’s on an interesting blog and one which I contribute to twice a month.
The article that made me stop and put all this together is this one. Someone has apparently written some software to put colour into ebooks. It’s finally possible to put children’s books onto an ereader. This has enormous potential and you’ll see the article has the same book on the computer as the ereader. It means that you can enlarge it for those children with vision problems and it makes it easier to read to a child, no more crick necks from craning around the book or trying to read it upsidedown, now just put it onto the computer and you can point. You could even use a projector to make it even larger.
I understand I’m starting to get really excited here and that may not be good from a pre-loved book seller but I see the future is happening right now and I’m going to be a part of it. I don’t see the total demise of printed books but there are many advantages to books on screen and the biggest one I see is the advantages to the environment that can accrue from not knocking down forests to make paper.
eBooks are become mainstream. They are something I’ve read about in science fiction and now they’re taking off. There’s a number of ways to read an eBook and some lovely person has created an entry in Wikipedia which includes the name of the device, who manufactured it and the date of manufacture. Linked from this page is this one which is a comparison of eBook formats.
I know some people are very upset about the loss of paper books, but there are some very good reasons we should stop printing them. They all have to do with the environment. Paper is made from trees and the more trees we cut down for paper the worse off the environment is. The more paper we use that gets thrown into the rubbish the worse things get. I’m not going to give a diatribe about this as there are plenty of people out there who are much more capable, but I will take a slight detour into the realms of science fiction and mention a book I have waiting for sale called Garbage World by Charles Platt. In this book there is a world which is just for rubbish. Every other world in the solar system brings their rubbish there and dumps it just like we dump our rubbish in the tip. I’m not saying that’s where we’re heading, but it certainly looks probable if we are not careful. So the fewer books we print then the less rubbish we’ll have. This does work for other items as well as books, but I don’t sell other items so I’ll just concentrate on books. Basically, I’m saying the eBooks are great as they greatly reduce the printing and therefore the rubbish.
When choosing your eBook reader think carefully about the types of books you read. If you read mostly modern books your choice will be different than if you mostly read books which are out of copyright. Any books which are out of copyright are being collated by Project Gutenberg and Google Books. Project Gutenberg are easily downloadable and free, Google Books are generally read in the browser but some titles are also available for mobile devices. Books written since 1955 are also easy to download, but do cost money to ensure the authors and publishers get paid. Google have been asked to stick to this ruling and this article makes this quite clear.
I heard about a device to me the other day and when I looked it up just now I was blown away by it. One of the books I plan on listing is Walk With Me by Kevin Hitchcock. It’s an autobiography detailing the accident which made him quadraplegic and his subsequent recovery. It’s a very moving story and helps give some ideas of the problems quadraplegics have. One of the challenges that struck me was because they have no use their arms they are at the mercy of whoever is with them and they have absolutely no control of anything around them. I’m sure they can learn to work the remote for the TV if someone is able to rig it up in a suitable spot and they are able to poke it with something. It would take great control though. If they wanted to read they would have to wait for someone to read to them or to turn the page for them or even to turn the cassette over. The device mentioned to me was born of sheer laziness and combined with some form of eBook reader would free up a quadraplegic to read at their own pace and to be able to load a new book. If you look here you can see what I mean. Basically, he’s made a cradle for his Kindle so he can lie in bed and only move one finger to turn the page. I’m not impressed by the laziness angle, but I just love the other possible uses. They’re just way cool.