Some facts about the book publishing
Number of new titles published
annually in the U.S.: 172,000
Number of books produced annually
in the U.S.: 4.15 billion (2006 figures)
Number of books sold annually
in the U.S.: 3.09 billion (2006 figures)
55 percent of fiction is bought
by women, 45 percent by men
Annual net sales of books in the U.S.:
$23.9 billion (2009 figures, 1.8% decrease comparing to 2008)
Annual net sales of e-Books in the U.S.: $313 million (2009 figures, 176.6% increase comparing to 2008)
Annual revenues of European book
publishers: Euro 22.3 billion (2004 figures)
Top 5 Book Formats (2009 figures):
Trade paperback (35%), Hardcover (35%), Mass market paperback (21%), Audio (2%), E-book (2%), Other (5%)
Top 5 Book Channels (2009 figures):
Large Chains (27%), E-commerce (20%), Book club (11%), Mass merchandisers (8%), Independents (5%), Other (29%)
What is the most important factor in book purchase?
Subject (43%), Author (29%), Good recommendation/word of mouth (11%), Reading a few pages (5%), Title (4%), Price (3%), Jacket design (1%)
Number of U.S. book publishers: 74,240 (record number on 2007, that's compared with 397 in 1925)
Number of U.S. book publishers who signed the Book Industry Treatise on Responsible Paper Use initiated by the Green Press Initiative to improve their ecological footprint: about 250
Although just a small number of all U.S. publishers signed the treatise so far, we see a growing awareness to environmental
issues within the industry in the last couple of years.
In terms of market share, about 50% of the publishers in the U.S. have environmental policies in place and goals for increasing their recycled/FSC-certified paper usage. Here are some examples:
House, a leading U.S. publisher, announced in May 2006
that it will raise the proportion of recycled paper it uses
to at least 30% by 2010 from under 3% at the time of the announcement.
is looking to extend the time frame to reach its objective.
On Nov 2010, Michael DeFazio, VP, Director, Production Planning and Paper, and co-chair of the Random House Green Committee told Publishers Weekly that Random expects to hit the 30% mark in 2013; interim goals are 22.5% for 2011, and 25% by 2012. "DeFazio cited the lack of good, affordable recycled paper as a major hurdle in hitting its original goal."
On November 2007, Simon & Schuster announced on a new environmental initiative
and paper policy that will increase the amount of recycled
fiber in the paper used to manufacture its books - an incremental
increase of the use of recycled fiber from its current 10%
baseline level to a 25% or greater aggregate level by 2012
for books printed and bound in the U.S.
On January 2008, Scholastic,
the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's
books, announced on a new green policy that is meant to "further
strengthening its sustainable paper procurement practices".
Scholastic's policy is based on a five-year goal to increase
its publication paper purchase of FSC-certified paper to 30%
and its use of recycled paper to 25%, of which 75% will be
Update: On July 27, 2011 Scholastic announced that "having made significant gains toward the FSC goal, Scholastic today said it will increase its goal for 2012 from 30% to 35% of all paper purchased.
In 2010, Scholastic purchased 82,146.3 tons of paper of which 22,380 tons, or 27.24%, was FSC-certified, up from 3.6% in 2007. In addition, 14,685 tons, or 17.88%, of the paper purchased was produced from recovered fiber, up from 13.5% in 2007, and of that amount, 11,472 tons, or 78.12%, was produced from PCW fiber, down slightly from 80.7% in 2007. See more details on Scholastic's progress in the image below (source: Scholastic).
On November 2009,
the Hachette Book Group has announced a new environmental policy that will increase the publisher's use of recycled paper by 2012 from 3% to 30%, with a majority of the fiber to be postconsumer, reduce its carbon footprint 2% per year off of a 2008 baseline and increase the use of paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to at least 20% of paper use by 2012.
Update: On November 2010, Pete Datos, VP, Inventory and Procurement of HBG, and chair of the Book Industry Environmental Council, told Publishers Weekly that "the paper market "has become more volatile. While some areas of going green will pay for themselves, using more recycled paper is almost certainly going to cost more." It could be then that the Hachette Book Group will
look to extend the time frame to reach its objectives.
There is also progress on the industry level -The Book Industry Environmental Council announced on April 2009 it has set goals for cutting the U.S. book industry's greenhouse gas emissions in 20% by 2020 (from a 2006 baseline) with the intent of achieving an 80% reduction by 2050.
The number of trees that are
cut down annually to produce the books sold in the U.S.:
more than 30 million (in accordance with the data on the Environmental
Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the U.S. Book Industry
Percentage of recycled
paper currently used by U.S. book publishers in the production
of books: 5%-10%
The environmental impacts of the book publishing industry
are analyzed and reviewed in an extensive report published
on March 2008. 'Environmental
Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the U.S. Book Industry',
a 86-page report, was prepared by the Green
Press Initiative (GPI) and the Book
Industry Study Group (BISG), with support from a number
of industry sponsors.
76 publishers, representing more than 45% of market share
by revenue, participated in the study, along with 13 printers
(about 25 percent) and 6 paper mills (about 17 percent). This
is an up to date analysis of the industry's ecological footprint
and the most detailed survey someone has done for years to
receive a clear picture of the book publishing industry's
environmental impacts. Eco-Libris covered the report in a
3-part series, which is available on this page: www.ecolibris.net/book_industry_footprint.asp
Some of the important findings in the report regarding
the industry's footprint are:
The carbon footprint of a book
(2006 figures): 8.85 lbs, in carbon dioxide terms
The total carbon footprint
of the book publishing industry (2006 figures):
12.4 million metric tons
The biggest contributor to
the industry's footprint: using virgin paper
- forest and forest harvest are responsible to 62.7% of the
industry's total carbon emissions.
Usage of recycled paper
We want to see every publisher
using recycled paper and want to encourage publishers to aim
higher and adopt even bolder goals than those in the above-mentioned
treatise. Today, recycled paper has become more affordable
– according to the Green Press Initiative, 24 new types
of book paper with strong environmental attributes have come
to market in the last couple of years. According to industry
experts, the price of recycled paper is only slightly higher
than that of regular paper. In some cases there’s even
no difference at all – in a 2005 survey conducted by
Book Business Magazine, 17% of publishers using at least 30%
post-consumer recycled fiber were able to achieve cost parity.
It also seems that there is more willingness by consumers
to pay more to support a move to recycled paper. A 2005 study
of American book and magazine readers found that almost 80%
of consumers are willing to pay more for books printed on
recycled paper (42% are willing to pay $1 more per book according
to the survey).
Greater use of recycled paper will also decrease other environmental
impacts of the book industry. Making paper from recycled paper
is generally a cleaner and more efficient process than making
paper from virgin fiber, as much of the work of extracting
and bleaching the fibers has already been done. The results
are less air and water pollution and lower water and energy
consumption (20%-30% less energy).
More information on the advantages of using recycled paper
can be found in this paper
prepared by the Environmental Defense and the Alliance for
Further development of sustainable
non-tree materials for the production of books
We believe in the importance
of conducting more research to develop economically viable
paper content made from cellulose-rich agricultural residue
(such as cereal straw, sugarcane bagasse, corn stover, etc.),
or from crops that are ideally suited for paper production,
like hemp or kenaf.
Use of paper that comes from
We think that recycled paper
should be used as much as possible in the production of books.
If trees are used to make raw materials for paper, they should
only be from forests certified by forest management systems,
such as the Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.
FSC is an independent non-profit organization that sets standards
worldwide for responsible forest management. These standards
are aimed to promote environmentally appropriate, socially
beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's
forests. For example, the standards include requirements to
manage forests in a way that conserves biological diversity
and its associated values, water resources, soils, and unique
and fragile ecosystems and landscapes, in order to maintain
the ecological functions and the integrity of the forest.
Using FSC certified paper ensures that the paper does not
originate from trees in endangered forests, that the forests
it is derived from were not converted to single-species tree
farms after harvest, and that the biodiversity and the resilience
of ecosystems is maintained.
Green printing tools and resources can be found on our Green
Printing page, including an archive of our green
Updates on the future of bookstores are available at http://www.ecolibris.net/bookstores_future.asp
Updates on the future of the publishing industry are available at http://www.ecolibris.net/publishing_future.asp
Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the U.S. Book Industry
4. Dan's Poynter's ParaPublishing.com
of European Publishers
9. The New York Times
The Association of American Publishers (AAP)
11. The Reading and Book Buying Habits of Americans - 2008 Survey by Zogby International
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