Tired of Forests Paying for Your Reading Habits? Here’s a Solution

As the holiday shopping season begins, I’m going to step away from the topic of green copywriting and Internet marketing for just a moment. You see, my friends and I struggle with an environmentally-devastating addiction….

We’re book fiends. Reading addicts. Info-junkies.

Oh, we’ve tried the e-book answer…and wound up printing them out…sure, it’s usually on 100% post-consumer recycled content paper, but still, printing them out! There’s just something about the feel of a volume in our hands that pixels on a screen cannot duplicate. And so our Christmas giving habits, collectively, could level a forest…a painful thought.

But thanks be, I’ve stumbled upon an answer! Actually, two answers, both as green as can be.

You know, of course, that Amazon offers used books from various booksellers. This actually is a green answer of sorts…no new trees are dying for the books you buy this way, and you certainly save a bundle.

But you can do better! Take a look at these two options…

Better World Books also sells used books – so far they figure they’ve kept 5 million pounds of books out of landfills – and they charge nothing – as in zero, zip, zilch, nada – for shipping in the U.S. (just $2.97 flat rate, worldwide). But this isn’t all they do. The profits from your Better World purchase help to fund literacy programs around the world, and a few cents tacked onto every purchase pays for carbon offsets to cover shipment. Rather than the trucks of UPS or FedEx, the muscular legs of your postal carrier carry your purchase to you, thus saving on fuel and carbon emissions!

If this still isn’t quite enough, you can go a step further. Eco-Libris has taken the carbon-offset concept and applied it to books – I guess you could call it cellulose offset! For just $5, you can plant five trees to compensate for five books…$10 for 10 books, and then there’s a price break as the numbers grow ($23.50 for 25 books, and so on). Eco-Libris works with Sustainable Harvest International, Ripple Africa, and The Alliance for International Reforestation to plant trees in developing countries where deforestation is a crucial problem and where the trees planted provide many local people with sustainable opportunities for a better future.

If your Christmas giving list, like mine, often looks more like a bibliography, why not let the planet share in your giving this year? Check out these new options, save the forests, and benefit disadvantaged communities…truly a gift to the world!

My Zimbio
KudoSurf Me!


  1. Thank you for your post!

    I truly hope to see many people go green this holidays and want to recommend those who are looking for green book ideas to check our holiday guide for book lovers:

    Every Sunday we add a new recommendation of a green book that is also a great gift, so check it out when you have the time.

    Happy holidays,

    Raz Godelnik

  2. Your Words' Worth

    Thanks for the info, Raz! I’ll definitely be checking it out….

  3. Check out swaptree.com too. This is a site where you swap your old books, dvds, cds, and video games with others for the cost of postage issued right at your computer. You just make a list of what you want to trade and what you wish list is and the swaptree does all the rest. You can trade books for cds if you want. It does not need to be a trade with the same media.

    No cutting down trees, throwing out dvds, and reducing dust in your house! This is a great site. Check it out. anna http://www.green-talk.com

  4. Your Words' Worth

    Excellent — thank you for the resource, Greentalk!

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