Green Books: Sharing Books

Welcome back to the second in my series of blog posts about Green Books.

Anyone who reads a lot must be aware of the amount of paper that is used in making books! Whole forests (or more usually plantations) are cut down to produce our reading materials! Surely an issue of concern for anyone even remotely interested in the environment?

So how can we reduce this environmental impact? In this post I'll talk about sharing books and in the next post I'll look at what the publishing industry can do.

The public library is perhaps the best known form of large scale book sharing. The future of UK Public Libraries is currently threatened (details here) and they need our support! Libraries offer access to books for people who otherwise couldn't afford them and are a great way to find new writers. Writers whose books are borrowed through public libraries are supported through the Public Lending Rights Scheme.

Bookcrossing is a fun way to share books. This international website and real-life project revolves around people leaving books in public places for other people to find. Each book has its own unique number and can then (theoretically at least!) be tracked as it travels round the world! Just recently I had an email to say that a book that I left somewhere in Edinburgh six years ago had just made its way to Spain! Bookcrossing Meet-Ups offer a chance for booklovers to discuss books and to share them without the worry of them possibly disappearing without trace.

I often swap books with my Mum and with some of my friends, which always leads to good conversation even though we don't always agree about what we like and dislike!

These days there are a lot of good quality charity second hand bookshops in the UK. Although obviously not free they do offer a cheaper alternative to the high street bookstores (and often a better choice for those of us with eclectic reading tastes!). Quality of the books can vary and where a public library would get rid of books that are too battered some charity shops have no such concerns - but this can mean good bargains! There are of course also a good selection of second hand shops run on a business basis, including online.

So plenty of ideas there for sharing books to cut down on their carbon footprint (and to save a bit of money too!) Please feel free to share your ideas in the comments section!

The next post will look at how the publishing industry can reduce its carbon footprint!

Crafty Green Poet


  1. Hi Juliet! Thanks for sharing your views on this issue. What do you think of schemes like ReadItSwapIt, where you send by mail your books to other people who are interested in them? The concept of sharing is there but do you view this as less eco-friendly as the books have to travel?

  2. Aha, that's a good question Silvia! Yes, I'd agree - the travel and packaging does make this less green. (A lot of Bookcrossers too send books all round the world). It is fun though to get parcels of books through the post, and the books themselves are being shared....


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