Ecology and literature. Book publishing of the future

Literature educates us and teaches all the best, but at the same time it requires sacrifices in the form of forests (once it was animals and parchment). Let’s talk about how ecology depends on literature, and how book publishing can improve for the benefit of the planet.

Easter Island

Since the 1980s, more resources have been used annually on Earth than can be restored in the same period, according to the Living Planet Reports of the World Wildlife Fund. For example, it takes 1.5 years to reproduce the resources consumed in 2007. Looks like we took out a loan.

By the beginning of the 21st century, humanity had cut down about 50% of all forests on the planet. 75% of this felling occurred in the 20th century. The connection between the loss of forests and the collapse of society can be traced on the example of Easter Island. Due to its isolation from the surrounding world, it can be considered as a closed ecosystem. The catastrophe in this system was caused by rivalry between clans and chiefs, which led to the erection of ever larger statues. Hence the increase in the need for resources and food, as a result, intensive deforestation and extermination of bird population.

Today, all the countries of the Earth share geo-resources and influence each other, like the twelve clans of Easter Island. We are lost in the vastness of space, like a lonely Polynesian island in the Pacific Ocean, and other shores are not yet seen.

Ecology and book publishing

The purity of air and water, soil fertility, biodiversity and climate directly depend on forest cover. About 16 million trees are cut down each year to produce books. trees approximately 43,000 trees per day. Industrial waste significantly pollutes the air and water bodies. It is obvious that the growth of the electronic books market could improve the situation, but it is also obvious that the digital format will not be able to completely replace the paper at least in the coming years. It is difficult to argue with the fact that the classics and the most important works of our time should be published on paper. But let’s take a closer look at the “massolite”.

E-books as a solution to the problem

It’s no secret that the lion’s share of the literary mainstream is not of high artistic value. The frequency of publication of books by some popular authors indicates a clear involvement in their production of literary blacks, as well as the fact that the craft for such an author (and publisher) is more a business than an art. And if so, then electronic publishing is for such an author (and publisher) just a gift of fate.

E-books, like any information product, have a huge margin. It is enough to make up and issue such a book once in order to sell an endless circulation without spending a single ruble on production and materials. In addition, electric comparction allows you to expand the potential audience to the whole world (Russianspeaking in our case). At the same time, for the reader, electronic books can be cheaper, and the purchase process is easier (you can also talk about subscription). At the same time, the conscience of the reader, author and publisher is clear, since not a single tree suffers in this whole process.

If we are not talking about venerable, but about young writers, then it is worth noting that publishing houses are often afraid to work with previously unpublished authors due to high risks. These risks can be minimized along with the costs by resorting to e-book publishing. Electronic format can be the first test for a book, and works that are well bought and read can be reborn in a premium edition on paper just like vinyl for musicians.

“Limits to Growth”

In 1972, The Limits to Growth saw the light of day, the result of the work of an international group of specialists led by Dennis L. Meadows. The basis of the study was the World3 computer model, which represents scenarios for the development of the world from 1900 to 2100. The book emphasized the already obvious impossibility of endless material growth on the physically final planet and called for refusing to increase quantitative indicators in favor of sustainable qualitative development.

In 1992, Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows, and Jorgen Randers presented Beyond Growth, which highlighted the striking similarities of global trends with their twenty-year-old forecasts. According to the authors, only an ecological revolution could save mankind from imminent death. And despite the fact that the agrarian revolution that preceded it lasted thousands of years, and the industrial revolution lasted hundreds of years, we have only some decades allotted for the ecological revolution.

In 2004, the authors released another book, The Limits to Growth. 30 years later”, where they confirmed the correctness of past forecasts and reported that if in 1972 the planet still had a reserve, then recently it has become obvious that humanity has already gone far beyond the limits of self-maintenance of the Earth’s ecosystems.


Today, the need for measures for the ecological rehabilitation of the planet is higher than ever before. You can contribute to it using canvas bags instead of plastic bags, sorting garbage or using an electric car. And if the latter is far from affordable for everyone, then buying an e-book instead of a paper one not only does not hit the pocket, but even costs less than buying a paper one, despite the fact that it is a step towards the greening of the publishing industry on the part of the reader.

On the side of authors and publishers, they can go even further, creating e-books before paper books. Information has become a commodity a long time ago, and art objects take on a full-fledged life in digital (like music, for example), this is a natural process, and, undoubtedly, the future lies behind it. Some may not like this future, but its other option an ecological disaster certainly few people will like it.

Alexandra Okkama, Sergey Inner, independent publishing house Pulp Fiction

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