A few weeks back I stumbled upon this advertisement for a newspaper which in loose translation says “This tree deserves to become a better newspaper”. Seeing it was one of those events which short-circuit my mind by causing a storm of concurrent reactions, like hearing religious leaders speak out against using preservatives, for example. The thought vortex went something like this: “It’s like showing a picture of a lamb with the punch line that that lamb deserves to become a tender, juicy steak”, “Is this conclusive proof that there is no such thing as bad publicity?”, “Advertising your way out of a job…”, “Who are these people?!”, “Blissfully detached from the world around them…”…and so on. That advertisement is therefore one of the reasons why I would like to say a few words about books, newspapers and paper publishing in general.
A newspaper is a proper industrial society, 20th century product: it is mass-produced daily in up to millions of copies, packed into vans, trucks, trains and planes, sold in a massive network of points of sale where people stop by to pick them up, read up to 20% of their contents and throw them away at the end of the day. It is worth mentioning that while 80% of paper does get recycled, paper recycling is always a downcycling process (i.e. it can only be done several times) and other used resources (like transportation, storage, various sale costs) cannot be recycled at all.
As for books, (više…)