Paper Quality

I’ve got Robert Levine’s Free Ride in my hands. I cracked it open and then quickly found the need to flip back to the verso of the title page to find this statement

The Random House Group Limited supports the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), the leading international forest certification organisation. All our titles that are printed on Greenpeace approved FSC® certified paper carry the FSC® logo. Our paper procurement policy can be found at

That would explain the yellow, thin, and visibly grainy paper that is Free Ride. (It also left me with no doubt that both “Forest Stewardship Council” and “FSC” are registered trademarks. Oops, sorry — that’s “Forest Stewardship Council®” and “FSC®”.) I think the best complement to the FSC® certified paper are IKEA’s low-energy light bulbs. Using these products in conjunction with each other ensures that I’ll soon be able to cut back on my electricity consumption altogether as I’ll be reading in Braille.

In my humble opinion, the best way for publishers to reduce on their carbon footprint isn’t to foist inferior paper (with badly glued binding, no less) on consumers at the same price as the quality hardcovers of old. Instead, publishers can be much more environmentally friendly by modifying the business model where booksellers are able to return any unsold books to publishers, the majority of which get pulped. Publishers can also embrace e-books, which are both paper- & transportation-free and remarkably easy on the eyes.

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