Sustainable publishing demands rethinking our processes from acquisition and editorial through to sales and marketing, but particularly in distribution and production.
As resources for learning and entertainment, physical books are long-term possessions that can be cherished, shared and recirculated. This means a sustainable future for publishing involves trade-offs between producing sustainable products with minimal environmental impact and producing products designed to last. This balance will shift according to the needs of publishers, individual book projects and their readers.
While paper (and its carbon by-products) presents the most visible, and significant, environmental issue on the production side of publishing, other environmentally damaging materials including laminates, foils and glues are used.
The following sections offer alternative materials and best practices to make books as sustainable and durable as possible.