From an environmental perspective, which is the 'greener' choice an electronic book reader or a hard copy novel?
I am torn. I am not talking about textbooks here because they create a whole range of different discussion points. I am particularly concerned about novels.
On the one hand I love ‘real’ books. However, I am very conscious that to produce those books many trees are cut down and pulped. Since I now often buy my novels on-line and they are then shipped from the UK or the US to Australia, this also adds to their environmental cost. And mostly, once I have read the book I put it on a shelf and never pick it up again. I may share it with a friend or family member though. So a paper book can be recycled. We have had other threads here about the value second-hand books can have in the prison system or for organisations that help people to read etc.
On the flip side, if I buy an electronic book reader they are an electronic piece of equipment that must be produced. Often this is done in third world countries with labour conditions that would not be permitted here. Long days, repetitive work and serious health concerns. Similarly, when the reader no longer works it has to be disposed of and again, often electronic equipment is sent to become land fill in countries where the health concerns they can create are not so considered as in Australia. I can also not share my book with other people. I can’t recycle it and pass it on so that multiple readers can share my purchase.
So which do you think is the better option from an environmental/human perspective and why? If I want to be environmentally friendly, do I buy a paper book or a Nook?
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.