In honor of the upcoming 40th Earth Day on April 22, we are exploring the question of the whether renting books is earth friendly.
Here is some food for thought and we welcome your questions and comments:
1) Renting books has been happening for years in the form of buying textbooks from your local university bookstore and (hopefully) selling used textbooks after finals. However, the textbook shuffle by publishers producing new book editions stops this renting cycle.
2) Renting textbooks from an online company incurs additional shipping of the book to and from your location. The environmental impact is most severe when people wait to the last minute to order a book and have it shipped via air. One also needs to consider the additional shipping materials involved and the fact most people still do not recycle (granted many municipalities do not offer easy recycling)
3) Does your textbook rental company do anything to offset their environmental impact? Some book rental companies utilize carbon offsets, others plant trees, or support various philanthropic interests. Do you know what they do – do you care?
4) Are eTextbooks or eBooks a better option in general? Should there be some other form of electronic textbooks?
Please comment and pose questions – we will follow up in the coming days with more information.