Will the popularity of the Kindle, Amazon's e-reader, be good for the planet? You bet, says the Cleantech Group in a report called "The Environmental Impact of Amazon’s Kindle." According to the report, each e-book reader has the potential to replace the purchase of 22.5 physical books a year, which would mean an estimated savings of 168 kg of CO2 per year.
As reported by earth2tech, the report's author, Emma Ritch, writes, "Multiplied by millions of units and increased sales of e-books, e-readers will have a staggering impact on improving the sustainability and environmental impact on one of the world’s most polluting industries: the publishing of books, newspapers and magazines." E-books, the report says, are about "dematerialization and eliminating the need for transportation."
Here's a scary question, however. If each e-reader eliminates the purchase of 22.5 physical books a year, what happens to our beloved neighborhood bookstores? However hard they may work to position themselves as community centers and places to connect with other readers, it's hard to imagine how they will sustain the loss of so many sales.
What's good for the planet may not be good for that other endangered species: the bookshop around the corner.