Paper vs. paperless: Which makes reading greener?

Are e-books like the Kindle (left) and Sony Reader (right) more eco-friendly than paper books? The short answer is that we don't know -- yet. We have a pretty good idea of the carbon footprint of paper books, thanks to a newish study, Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the U.S. Book Industry, released earlier this year by the Book Industry Study Group and the Green Press Initiative. That report concludes each paper U.S. book releases 8.85 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Unfortunately, the study doesn't cover e-books. "In order to address e-books effectively, Iā€™d need to look at a lifecycle comparison that analyzes the impacts of e-readers vs. paper as a medium," said Tyson Miller, founder and director of the Green Press Initiative, in an interview published on Sustainablog. "I do hope that we can explore much more in-depth in future iterations."

Full article in the Los Angeles Times.

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One of the founders of the largest independent ebook retailer in the USA, Fictionwise Inc. commented on the article. His comments are at the bottom of the LA Times article.

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