The AAP and BISG/GPI reports recommend strategies and practical steps any publisher can initiate. GPI reports that a Book Industry Environmental Council is being developed to provide a forum for tracking execution of environmental strategies, such as:
1. Reduce consumption and waste industrywide by addressing overprinting, reduction of returns, recycling and pulping of unsold books.
2. Monitor your office energy use, and explore “green” options in shipping.
3. Manage your print quantities to reduce returns. Incorporate demand printing wherever feasible.
4. Standardize your trim sizes and paper grades, and reduce basis weights.
5. Question your paper suppliers about their recycled-paper percentages and stocking practices, and ask for samples and specifications.
As a matter of course, every book launch and budget should incorporate resource utilization as another item on the agenda. It won’t take too long to get used to it as another checklist item. Companies that practice management by objectives, or perform annual personnel reviews, can also easily incorporate environmental-resource consciousness as part of the process.
Looking back to when John Muir called for the preservation of our wilderness in 1890, so much defined by forests, rivers, mountains and canyons, we can mark when the publishing industry was forever bound to the environmental fortunes of these organic resources that have so enriched our nation. Now, the carefree days may be behind us—but the rewards of the business of books still lie ahead as it connects to a “greener” future.
Eugene G. Schwartz is a regular contributor to Book Business. He is a publishing industry analyst, writer and editor-at-large for Foreword Magazine. A former PMA board member, he is president of Consortium House, a management and business consultancy to publishers.
Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.