According to the Green Press Initiative, 30 million trees are used to make books to be sold in the United States every year, and sources include endangered, ecologically sensitive and old-growth forests. The carbon footprint of a single book is 8.85 pounds, and the book publishing industry as a whole emits a net 12.4 million pounds of carbon dioxide every year, taking into account all steps of the production cycle, from tree harvesting to incinerating that paperback you left out in the rain.
And this one:
Ironically, the book that has consumed more trees in recent history than any other has helped push changes in the publishing industry. On the urging of author J.K. Rowling, Scholastic printed 65 percent of the U.S. first edition of the final Harry Potter book on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper, meaning it was harvested from responsibly managed forests, and included at least 30 percent post-consumer recycled paper.
The impact was significant: These moves saved 200,000 trees and had the same carbon impact as taking 1,577 cars off the road. Furthermore, printers across the country began stocking more recycled and FSC-certified paper to meet the demand.
It's really an interesting article and it also touches on the newspaper and magazine industries, which hits close to home for me. I'm encouraged that publishers are taking these issues to heart, because as I've posted before, I love to hold books in my hand. I'm not one who wants to read off a computer screen for too long. I don't think books will ever go out of "style," so it's important to keep ahead of the curve and be good to Mother Earth while still publishing important, fun, educational or classic writing, wherever it may appear on the printed page.