E-book vs paper book

What is better: to use electronic books or paper books?

Every day we see how world is changing: there comes new technologies and innovations. We can’t imagine our day without mobile phone, internet. With innovation comes and harm to nature. Fortunately, in this century, people start to understand the harm they causing to environment and try reduce it. I chose this topic, because I like reading, paper books for me are more comfortable, but at the same time I understand, that reading them I have destroyed forests and nature. But at the same time, I start to think, if I chose to read e-books, will it be more helpful, after all we are using electricity, and to produce it we need a lot of energy. So, by choosing this theme, I wanted to analyze the situation and to push myself, and maybe others, to act.

In the internet you can find a lot of information and discussions about this topic, more of them providing some basic advantages and disadvantages of using e-books or paper books. Of course everyone agrees that e-books are more environment friendly than ordinary books, but I found an interesting picture which compares books in 2010.

(source: http://paulsnewsline.blogspot.co.at/2011/12/your-local-public-library-greenest.html )

As you can see, reading e-books also causing damages. All energy sources affect the environment more or less.  As to compare and see real facts: 

(source:http://www.ecolibris.net/green_ipad.asp )


After all this here comes another question: Can e-books replace paper books? In the internet people opinions are similar, they say NO.  35% voted for e-books, but other 75% prefers paper books to E-books.

So there some the eco-friendly reason to move into Digital Publishing:
Global use of paper has grown more than six-fold since 1950.

  • One ton of uncoated virgin (non-recycled) printing/office paper uses 24 trees.
  • One ton of paper = 400 reams = 200,000 sheets.
  • So one tree makes only 16.67 reams of copy paper, being just 8,333 sheets of paper.
  • Making paper uses more water per ton than any other product in the world.
  • One ton of paper uses 2 barrels of oil, 28,000 litres of water and 4,100kw hours of electricity. Enough energy to power the average home for 5 months.
  • One ton of paper requires the use of 98 tons of various resources and produces 2,278 lb of solid waste.
  • In most western countries, paper accounts for up to 40 percent of all municipal solid waste.
  • Pulp and paper is the 5th largest industrial consumer of energy in the world, using as much power to produce a ton of product as the iron and steel industry.
  • One fifth of all wood harvested in the world ends up in paper.

Source: The Worldwatch Institute.


To summarize I can say: step by step I will start to use green energy, recycle and read e-books. For this reason, I highly recommend you to watch an animation movie “The Lorax” based on Dr. Seuss children’s book of the same name. And if you not really interested in this, or you already saw this movie, take a look only to link bellow. There is song from this movie, which, I think, will make you to rethink about our behavior with nature.


UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

- Dr. Seuss

By Božena Tiutčeva

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Dilemma Situation

Dilemma Situationen, erarbeitet von InterMedia Studierenden an der FH Vorarlberg in der Lehrveranstaltung Medienethik.