5 ways for bookworms to save trees

by EcoStreet on January 14, 2008

in Conservation, Recycling

I like to read, it’s one of my favourite methods of relaxation, and I get through lots of books. But buying lots of new books is expensive, and it can be damaging to the environment. All those trees being cut down to make paper to print books on is a waste when there are lots of read copies of the books you want out there, lying around and gathering dust. It’s all very well visiting second hand book shops, or buying ex-library books when you’re not looking for something specific, but it’s not always easy to find exactly what you want when what you want is not another best-seller. Here are some ideas for the bookworms who can’t give up their book habit, but want to save trees all the same.

1. Read It Swap It


I’ve been swapping books with Read It Swap It for a few years now. In fact, I’m a “Super Swapper” with 102 swaps under my belt. Swapping is a simple procedure. You list the books that you no longer want (put in the ISBN number and the book details pop up) along with details about their condition. Then if someone wants to swap with you, you receive an email with a link to their book list. If you want to swap your book for one of their books, you agree to the swap and are given the swappers postal address to post your book to. You should receive your new book within about a week for the price of postage. You can set up a wish-list and be notified whenever someone adds one of the books from your wish-list to their swap list. This is a UK only swapping service.

2. Green Metropolis


The idea behind Green Metropolis is that you get to sell your old books and plant trees, and buy used books and save trees. Here’s how it works. All books cost £3.75 with free delivery for standard paperbacks, and you are paid £3.00 for every book you sell. And for every book sold Green Metropolis donates 5p to the ‘Tree For All’ campaign run by The Woodland Trust. There is wish-list facility on this site too that will notify you when books on your list come up for sale. Again, this is a UK only site.

3. BookMooch


I’ve just learned about this amazing international book swapping site. It has over half a million registered members and operates on a simple points system. Well worth checking out, and a great way to get your hands on books that aren’t easily available in your country. And that brings me neatly to number 4 in the list, Eco-Libris, who have teamed up with BookMooch to offer book offsetters extra points on the BookMooch site.

4. Eco-Libris

ecolibrissticker.jpgOffset your books! As far as I know these guys are one of a kind, and the only people you can turn to to plant replacement trees for any new books that you decide to buy. How it works is that you pay Eco-Libris $1 for each new book that you buy, and they see to it that one tree is planted for each dollar you spend (there is an economy of scale if you offset 25 books or more at once, and then it’s less than a dollar per tree). They also send you a special sticker (like the one you can see here, just a bit bigger) to put on your book to show that it’s paper has been replaced.

5. Amazon Used Books


Good old Amazon! Love them or hate them, they’re a darn good place to get books that you just can’t find anywhere else. I lean on them regularly to maintain my book habit, and always go for used books when they’re available. They’re much better value than new books, and then there’s that niggling green issue too. If you’re in the US, then it’s Amazon.com for you.

So there you have it bookworms, you too can green up your act without missing out.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

chocolate covered musings January 15, 2008 at 11:02 am

i use eco-libris and then when i’m done reading, i bookcrossing my books (bookcrossing.com)

thanks for the other ideas


Jancy Turner January 15, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Another fantastic way for bookworms to save trees is available at paperbackswap.com.

With over 1,800,000 books posted online, it is an incredible way to swap unwanted book. You may also swap audio books, dvds and cds.


Amanda Wray January 15, 2008 at 11:47 pm

I use http://www.bookswim.com. It is a subscription based service that lets you “check out” 3 books at a time (much like Netflix) for as long as you want. They send you an envelope for easy return and you don’t pay shipping.


Linda Zuckerman January 16, 2008 at 2:21 pm

How about use the library? In our county, there are books, DVDs, Video games, CDs, magazines that can all be checked out for free.

If you aren’t going to keep a book, check it out!


Anna Hackman January 16, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Everyone check out swaptree.com. It is a multimedia swapping site. You can swap a book for a DVD is you want. Right now it is only based in the US. Anna http://www.green-talk.com


Andrew January 19, 2008 at 4:54 am

Also on Amazon you can buy the Kindel which is an “electronic book reader” its like the ipod of the book world and you can actually download tens of thousands of books (it can store 200 books and you can expand the memory) with the free of charge wireless internet.(you can use the wireless internet anywhere it uses the same technology as cellphones minus the monthly fee) you can also download books from your computer to your kindel. There are numerous other awesome features that come with the kindel as well its the ultimate treeless reading experience


rob bell January 19, 2008 at 4:56 pm

At We Swap Books we let our members add books to our system and swap with fellow swappers. The site is free, the only cost for members being the cost of posting books to one another, and we have a wide variety of books on the site. We’re kinda new (online October 2007) but we do have big plans for 2008. Our American site which we hope will be online by Easter and our other site We Swaps DVDs, launching hopefully before Autumn.

Rather than just pimp my own site I will say readitswapit.co.uk and, of course, Amazon are great places to pick up some books.


high.on.markers January 20, 2008 at 5:49 am

Hey, y’all. I really have to echo L. Zuckerman there… There’s this fantastic new invention called A LIBRARY! This is like community WI-FI, only with books. Check it out, it rocks.


Hayley Jones January 21, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Thanks for this info. I have used Green Metropolis before but there are some sites on the list which are new to me so will be checking them out.


Drew January 26, 2008 at 11:13 pm

I admire a couple of those sites. But if you wondering what site is going to be the craigslist of “swap” sites (and I’m very suprised ther’re not on you list)…..


It’s brand new, but it’s exploding, It’s totally innovative, of course they recycle AND it’s FREE

But the site is actually FUN too! It’s brillaintly designed. You actaully “trade WITH someone”. The same fun experience trading was when you were a kid.

It’s really cool (No, I don’t work for them)


jquasi March 24, 2008 at 9:54 pm

other website http://truequi.com
thanks 😉


Greg September 15, 2008 at 6:04 pm

In my family we are avid readers and of course we pass our books along or recycle them. If you would like to get involved directly in saving some trees check out our campaign to set aside 7.3 acres here in Missouri. graceyfoundation.org


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