To print or not to print?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

crinkled paper

I have eagerly awaited the death of print.

This is because eBooks are more sustainable than the paper variety.

Also, Third World country deforestation, loss of species’ habitats and the human suffering caused by corporations forcing people off their land to cultivate trees for paper, is immoral.

I was somewhat disturbed, therefore, when I attended a publishing conference recently and listened to a panel of designers and booksellers argue that eBooks were a passing fad.

They insisted that print would remain popular, sales were healthy and that the look and feel of printed material were superior to eReaders.

Yet there was  no acknowledgement of the people exploited or the trees that die to meet the insatiable, but avoidable, paper demand.

Surely, given there is a sustainable alternative to paper books, we should encourage a switch to eReaders? Advances in technology — including screen size, battery life, memory and back lit screens — ensure electronic readers are compact storage devices for hundreds of texts.

I left the conference disappointed.

However, this article argues that paper products, used effectively, are sustainable. Here’s why:

  • The average person uses twice as much electricity on a single computer than it would take to produce all the paper they would use in a year.
  • The print business, due to recent ecological initiatives, is one of the more sustainable industries in the West. Designers now have certified suppliers who provide them with plenty of sustainable paper choices.

While I remain undeterred that the future of eBooks is promising, there may be a future for boutique print products after all.


Sue Bell

Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

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