To Kindle…or Not

I really enjoy reading. I try to read as much as possible, although I certainly have less time for it now that I have a baby. I do own quite a few books, but I don’t actively buy books. Instead, I borrow from friends, family, and the library. I’ve always enjoyed going to the library and walking up and down the aisles waiting for a title to jump out at me. I take home those books and feel like I hit the jackpot when I read one that completely envelops me in the story. I have never read a book ending in advance. I wait patiently. I have on occasion started a book and decided to not finish it. Why waste my time on something that I’m not enjoying.

Now, instead of books, there are e-book readers. I have to admit that I am intrigued. My initial reaction was, not a chance. I’m not going to give up the feel of holding a book, turning its pages or show my lack of support for my local libraries. Then I started thinking about books and all the paper required to fill up those bookstores and libraries. I started to get more and more intrigued with the idea of owning an e-book reader. The more I think about it, the more I wonder is it really more green to read a book on a Kindle or the real thing?

On the surface, an e-book reader wins hands down. It’s paperless, enough said. Put a little more thought into it, and you start to realize that it isn’t paperless. It has to be built somewhere. It’s manufacturing factory uses paper. Remember my cubicle spring cleaning? I’m sure that the people who work and manage the production efforts also use printers and photocopiers. Paper is required for the packaging. People work in the facility, which require more paper, not to mention running water and electricity. These products have to be delivered to the buyers, requiring fossil fuel use and more packaging. I can also mention chemicals required to make the product and the heavy metals that are in the product that can pose dangerous threats to our environment if not disposed of properly. Of course, most of these arguments can also be made of books.

Now I don’t know what to do. Check out this interesting article regarding this topic. Basically, if e-book readers don’t reduce the amount of books published, then they are not helping green efforts. The bottom of the article addresses the toxic chemicals found in electronics, and interestingly, Sony’s e-reader has none.

For now, I think that I’ll stick with the library.


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