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Is the Kindle a greener way to read books?
I believe that Amazon's Kindle is the Green Product of the Year and here's why. Last year Amazon released their electronic reader, which is intended to replace traditional books, magazines and newspapers with a convenient, high quality and easy to read device. With access to the entire Amazon catalog (which is truly vast) you can now download and read what would have traditionally been a paper or film based publication. No longer will your book or newspaper have to be manufactured, printed and transported. No longer will the environmentally expensive resources or publication and fulfillment be required. Ultimately, if enough individuals and families adopt electronic readers we should see a huge decrease in paper consumption and carbon from the manufacturing and distribution of books, newspapers and magazines.
Once you get the hang of using the Kindle you'll find that you like it better than reading paper, because of the benefits which come with an electronic reader. You can download most books, newspapers and periodicals in less than a minute without a computer connection. The quality of the screen is like real paper and does not strain your eyes like a typical computer.
Another large benefit is the cost of downloads is typically half of what you'd pay to purchase the traditional paper publication.
Amazon has just announced their new Kindle 2 which is a giant leap forward from the already wonderful and praised original version. The new version has two weeks of reading on a charge, lighter than a paperback and thinner than a magazine. You can store over 1500 titles in your library and it can read the book to your with it's text to speech reader.
The Kindle is not inexpensive (US $359), but if you read a lot the cost savings on purchasing books and driving to books stores will pay for the unit within a year.
Now that I've outlined the environmental benefits of the Kindle, if you are left with any doubts about the quality and value of the Kindle you should read the customer reviews on Amazon. Keep in mind that if you want to order one, Amazon cannot keep Kindles in stock because demand is too high. To be a sustainable citizen and save yourself some money you might want to consider buying a used one.