Which is more eco friendly book or ibook

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Frazer19, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. Frazer19 macrumors member


    Jul 17, 2010
    Broken Britain
    Which is better for the planet. A normal book that is made from trees & recycled paper. Or an ibook which just wastes electricity.
  2. TorontoLRT macrumors 6502

    Jun 4, 2010
    Toronto, Duh!
    Definitely iBook. More power is used manufacturing a paper book than is used reading an iBook.
  3. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    A normal book of course.

    I hate to think just how much tech waste actually goes to make an iPad if you took into account every single part of it.

    All the mining the minerals out of the ground to make the parts, the chemicals in the many manufacturing processes etc etc......

    Plus the continual battery replacement which will be in the millions as time goes on.

    As opposed to a plant that goes in the ground with some printing (could be environmentally friends ink) that with care could last many hundreds of years or compost down back into the ground if wanted.
  4. TorontoLRT macrumors 6502

    Jun 4, 2010
    Toronto, Duh!
    ^He didn't mean the iPad. He meant the books.
  5. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Well, as an iBook it nothing (just a fart on the wind) without some technical device to view the data, I was assuming the question was about the whole item that results in words being readable.

    If we are just talking about an iBooks data, then of course, apart from the electricity used to hold that one tiny piece of data than that it different.
  6. seajay96 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    neither practice is altogether environmentally friendly.

    on the surface, ebooks should be more sound because they don't require paper and the deforestation and chemical use that comes from paper manufacturing, but of course, the e-readers have to be manufactured, powered, and disposed of at EOL.

    so, are paper books more friendly? doubtful. first, there is the aforementioned use of paper and chemicals and second, all of the energy required to maintain appropriate environments in libraries and bookstores has to be astronomical.

    so, I think it's probably a draw, but if you take into account multi-function devices like tablets (not task dedicated e-readers) that are already being made for other reasons and also allow millions of books not to be printed and thus not use additional chemicals and paper is probably the best way to go.
  7. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Another thing to have to take into account is that many times a real book will not be purchased, just read by one individual then disposed of.

    Many times it will be given to other family members, to Charities, or sold on to others to also may pass onto their family members or eventually to charities

    Not to mention lending libraries.

    A physical book could be read by many many people over many years before being disposed of.

    (one of the major drawbacks with ebooks, which in theory you can't even pass onto other family members)
  8. sweetie81 macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2007
    Hard to answer. The iPad has to be manufactured. The iPad will need to be charged from time to time and therefore more energy is needed which will increase the footprint.

    It also requires servers from Apple to run which hold the books which will consume a lot of power as well. So strictly speaking in my opinion I think that an iBook will be less eco friendly than a book. As far as we don't have the manufacvturing and maintenance costs it's hard to answer so this reflects only my opinion.
  9. jmann macrumors 604


    Dec 8, 2007
    bump on a log in a hole in the bottom of the sea
    A eBook is better because it is using a more easily renewable resource.
  10. astrorider macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2008
    You can pass ibooks onto family member or friends just like you can apps from the app store...you just have to authorize their computer for your iTunes account. Then give them the app or book file.

    You only can authorize 5 computers though. I haven't had more than two computers for some time, and I'm currently sharing apps with my girlfriend and books with my dad leaving one for a spare.
  11. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    I don't think you can separate an iBook from the iPad you need to view it on. A paper books causes strain on forests and water while making ipads contributes to all the choking smoke over Chinese cities. Keeping them charged also ultimately causes air pollution.

    At this point in time, Id say the iPad/iBook causes more environmental harm by a long shot.
  12. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Yes, but they cut down tree's and replant for paper production, the growing plants give out oxygen and are beneficial to the planet, then they are used, and if every burned or composted, you only returning the same material back to the soil that grew the tree in the 1st place.
  13. Don Kosak macrumors 6502a

    Don Kosak

    Mar 12, 2010
    Hilo, Hawaii
    All of the chemicals, dioxins, and other poisons that are used to make paper end up contaminating the land and water. (not to mention the impact on our forests and wildlife.)

    The fuel used to print, bind and physically ship paper books is nontrivial as well. Warehouses burn fuel as well to heat and light them.

    Of course most of our electricity comes from dirty coal, oil, or gas fired generation plants. So even a clean e-book ends up having environmental impact.

    I would say it is pretty equal right now, unless you recharge your iPad using Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Tidal, or Nuclear generated electricity.
  14. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    I do think we wil pretty soon need to find an alternative to the battery.

    With the worldwide market moving more towards mobile devices more than ever and electric cars getting near to practical reality, we are going to go battery mad over the next decade or so.

    I guess most devices, hopefully will use 2 or 3 batteries in their lifetime before getting scrapped.
  15. tkermit macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2004
    Good idea for a thread. :) Really hard to answer that question. There must be studies trying to answer these kinds of questions?! Of course in the whole scheme of things, the difference probably doesn't matter much...
  16. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    You could eat a paper book if you really had to :)
  17. Ciclismo, Nov 1, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010

    Ciclismo macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2010
    This is a very tough question to answer without any statistics. I think one should first make a more comprehensive list of pros and cons before making a qualitative analysis.

    • Causes e-waste during manufacture and disposal.
    • Limited useage life of 5-10 years, where some (but not all) books can be used for 100+ years.
    • Requires electricity - both directly and for support systems (internet servers which store and tranfer e-books, landline and cell towers etc.).
    • Can't be used to prop up a coffee table yet still read at a later date, or to start a fire.

    • One device can replace hundreds, if not thousands, of printed volumes.
    • Can be used to replace many forms of printed material such as magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, text books, journals, not just fiction novels.
    • Increasingly electricity is coming from renewable resources, so eventually negating energy usage concerns.
    • Increasingly e-waste is being minimised, and products are constructed from more recycled, and recyclable parts, further reducing e-waste (possibly to lower waste levels than paper production/recycling?).
    • Can replace colour printed materials (i.e. high gloss magazines and books) which cause considerable more pollution in both printing and recycling. Neither paper manufacture/printing nor recycling are waste "neutral".
    • A system to reduce or eliminate libraries with electronic lending could be implemented, reducing their massive footprints (libraries are basically huge, well lit and highly staffed warehouses with a low stock density). And no more late fees!

    Taking these pros and cons into account, I think the short term answer (considering that e-books are not that prevalent yet) I would say printed books are environmentally "friendlier".

    But in the long run I think e-books will have the upper hand as they become more common, at which point the upsides eventually will outweigh the downsides as well as outperforming the upsides of physical printed material.
  18. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Are we considering here a single book versus one iPad? That would probably not be quite fair. I subscribe to about 10 periodicals on my iPad, some of which replaced the original paper subscriptions. I also have probably 60-75 books on my iPad. Now, I do travel and I would normally take a few books with me. Since I got the iPad, I am actually traveling lighter since the iPad doesn't weight nearly as much as some of the books I would take with me. So I'm actually helping to save (a tiny bit of) jet fuel. Now how does one put all these factors into consideration? And on top of that we all use our iPads for many other things than just book reading, don't we? From my perspective the answer is actually pretty clear....
  19. Jazwire macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2009
    We need to go back to writing on stone tablets.
  20. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Who knows...

    but I'd rather a paper book any day of the week!
  21. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    You chisel stone tablets :rolleyes:
  22. iamthekiller macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2010
    I'm shocked by the intelligent debate over this topic. Keep it up.

    I'd love to see an in-depth study of ebooks vs physical. Also consider though, the social aspects of a library and how it ultimately encourages people to seek higher education, avoid straining society with poverty, crime, and tax dollars... Libraries could, of course, go all-digital in the near future. There are just so many factors.
  23. Ciclismo macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2010
    You could still maintain the social aspect, but you could save considerable amounts of money by reducing the size of a library to just a small set of multipurpose rooms, for example with comfortable chairs and tables that could be used as reading rooms and classrooms. This money could in turn be used to educate the staff in this modern day library so that they in turn can provide a greater wealth of services, such as adult education short courses, university preparation and study methods courses etc. The cool thing about this is that it then enables the citizens to better use the wealth of (digital) reading material by endowing them with complex tools.

    The other advantage is that using something like the Netflix model for lending (say a max of 5 books at any one time, but one can upgrade to 10 or more for a small annual fee, or for free as a full- or part-time student in a recognised institution) is that one isn't required to physically visit the library anymore. This would be of considerable benefit for the invalid for whom making such a journey requires considerable effort, or for those in rural areas.

    The only downside is that these new libraries would be a little sterile with no endless shelves of books.
  24. goobot macrumors 603


    Jun 26, 2009
    long island NY
    iBooks. Just imagine a library with just 30 ipads sitting at desks instead of all those paper books and wood selfs. And everyone can use the same book. And books can wear tear and be destroyed. Ipads are less likely and can be fixed easier.
  25. kwfergy macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2010
    When the demand for paper is reduced, the demand for trees is reduced. Timber prices drop and land becomes more valuable as developmental properties that as pine forests. Cheap land leads to more suburan sprawl, ruining wildlife habitats. Go paper, grow trees.

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