In August 2010 my husband got me an e-reader for my birthday. Before that I was opposed to an e-reader because I like the aesthetics of holding and smelling a book. But truth be known, I read a LOT of books and although the local library has a good selection of fiction, their non-fiction selections just don't match my interests. Consequently, I have well over 1000 books, which take up a lot of room in our house. This was what prompted my husband to buy an e-reader for me.
I have to admit, there is much I like about the e-reader, not the least of which is the ability to carry around a lot of books on a little tablet when I travel. Since the books also download to my laptop, I can access them there as well. E-books are not less expensive than books at the store. I thought they would be without the expense of printing and shipping. I can get printed books more cheaply (except for the classics in the Google library and downloads from the local library.)
So my question was: environmentally, which is better? An e-reader or a printed book? Apparently, I am not the only person to wonder. I discovered an article on the Conservation Magazine website that looks at just this issue. Since I have nearly 200 books on my e-reader today, the pendulum has swung to the e-reader side of the environmental balance scale. However, don't look for me to give up my printed books any time soon.