22nd
Jun
2010

Is Going Paperless Really Greener

Posted by admin

Is Going Paperless Really Greener?

Thanks to Megan Halpern over at Melville House (MobyLives) for her post challenging the idea that digital media is a necessarily “greener” alternative to paper. Halpern points to an important article by Don Carli at PBS MediaShift, which calls the choice between paper and e-media a “false dilemma.”

As Carli explains, “going paperless” (with our bills, with our books) may feel like a great leap toward reducing our carbon footprint because the evidence of our consumption disappears, but the environmental benefits of digital media are as-of-yet largely illusive:

Just because we cannot see something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. While paper mills emit visible plumes of steam and waste paper can pile up visibly in our homes and businesses, the invisible embodied energy or “grey energy” used to manufacture digital technologies and the toxic e-waste associated with electronics are largely out of sight and out of mind, but their impacts can be profound.

Carli’s article addresses the monumental energy demands of digital media technology, much of which are met in the United States by coal-fired power plants that contribute significantly to deforestation, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Consider these sobering statistics:

America’s adoption of networked broadband digital media and “cloud-based” alternatives to print are driving record levels of energy consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the electricity consumed by data centers in the United States doubled from 2000 to 2006, reaching more than 60 billion kilowatt hours per year, roughly equal to the amount of electricity used by 559,608 homes in one year. According to the EPA that number could double again by 2011.
And here’s another compelling reality check, which Carli offers in response to a reader comment (the article has sparked a lively debate):

The EPA reports that electronic devices are the largest and fastest growing category of toxic waste in our landfills. According to the US EPA, about 70% of the toxic heavy metals found in landfills come from e-waste.
It’s important to note that Carli is not coming down on the side of either paper or digital media. Rather he is cautioning us to become better informed about our media choices and not to be lulled into a state of complacency by the “save trees” rhetoric that many proponents of digital media have embraced.

Erin Brown

Thomas Riggs & Company

Missoula, Montana; Nice, France

From Thomas Riggs & Co. Blog: www.thomasriggs.net/blog

30th
Oct
2009

Thomas Riggs & Co.: Who’s Reading Georges Perec?

Posted by thomasriggs

Who’s Reading Georges Perec?

The blog Cafebook recently discussed Georges Perec (1936-1982), one of the most innovative French writers of recent times. I live much of the year in Nice, so after I read the post, I walked down the street to Fnac and picked up his short novel Les Choses (Things, 1965). As I soon found out, it’s a book best read on a couch when the air is warm and the wind is blowing gently through a window and when there’s nothing better to do than ponder big ideas—in this case, youth and freedom and the curious pull toward security, comfort, and beautiful objects.

Why read this book? It’s intellectual without being pretentious. It talks about serious ideas, though in a simple, fascinating story. It takes place in the 1960s but is concerned with something interesting to think about during today’s global economic downturn—the culture of consumption.

I was grateful to Cafebook, written by Emma Zucchi, for talking about Perec, who died of lung cancer at the age of 45. Les Choses, his first book, was a big success in France and translated into numerous languages.

In the United States Perec has a loyal following, and the translated version, Things, is published by David R. Godine. In this era of best sellers and declining midlists, it’s great to see a foreign writer continue to fascinate Americans. Thanks, Godine, for publishing Things!

Thomas Riggs
Thomas Riggs & Company
Missoula, Montana

From Thomas Riggs & Co. Blog: www.thomasriggs.net/blog

10th
Sep
2009

Thomas Riggs & Co.: Blogging in the New Era of Publishers and Publishing

Posted by admin

About Our Blog
Thomas Riggs & Company, Missoula, Montana

At Thomas Riggs & Co. we have a blog. But why? In our field, book development and publishing, a blog is neither essential nor common. What’s most important is producing good books. After all, without good products, we could talk all day long, and it wouldn’t matter.

But with the increasing importance of the Internet, times are changing. Publishing companies now have a real opportunity to engage with readers, as well as with other professionals in the field. We can talk about what interests us, what affects our work and future, and even our fears and concerns. By being honest and transparent we give others an easy way to get to know us. Readers can learn about our books and plans; potential employees, contractors, and writers can better judge if we are a good fit; and other publishing companies can see if we would be an appropriate developer of their products.

Our hope, too, is to become more involved in the greater discussion of publishing and literature on the Internet. We have our own niche and set of experiences to talk about. But we also look forward to hearing from others. If Thomas Riggs & Co. is going to be relevant in the coming Internet age, it will be because we embrace new technology and the advantages it offers, especially the interactive, democratic world of the Internet, where readers and publishers can share, as equals, ideas and possibilities for the future.

Additional Resources
Thomas Riggs and Company :: Home Page
Thomas Riggs and Company :: Article on 800review.com
Thomas Riggs and Company :: Listed on Betaflow.com
Thomas Riggs and Company :: Information on Incprofile.com
Thomas Riggs and Company :: Article on Review-inc.com
Thomas Riggs and Company :: Facts on Tvbubble.com