Seeing Green: Publishers Strive to Become Eco-Friendly

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Barefoot Books of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Chelsea Green in White River Junction, Vermont, are two of the latest publishers to announce "going green" initiatives.

On Thursday, June 21, independent children's publisher Barefoot Books announced its newest efforts to promote conservation. The company's initiatives include changes within its office environment, more environmental content in its publications, and, said Nancy Traversy, Barefoot co-founder and CEO, in a statement, "a more grassroots communal approach to marketing [Barefoot] books."

The company's internal changes include "printing books and marketing material on recycled or ancient-forest friendly paper; requiring suppliers to provide environmental audits; minimizing paper usage; introducing low-energy lighting; encouraging low-impact transport; and supporting local community activities."

Barefoot Books is also partnering with other eco-friendly organizations to create interactive web content for parents, teachers, and kids, and it is encouraging retailers, consumers, and others to hold events in support of "Friends of Live Earth" on July 7. In addition, a percentage of proceeds from the sale of its new Whole World title are being donated to environmental organizations.

The new Chelsea Green Partner Program, unveiled at BookExpo America, features a carbon-neutral shipping model and other incentives for participating booksellers who, among other requirements, must agree to purchase Chelsea Green books on a nonreturnable basis.

For a publisher of books on sustainability, in an industry "riddled with returns," it's all about reducing waste and inefficiencies, said Kalen Landow, Chelsea's communications director. "We believe one of the biggest challenges of the publishing industry is eliminating or at least reducing returns. Overall, we wanted to look at what we could do."

In addition to carbon-neutral shipping through, the program offers bookstores shipping and discount incentives, a right of first refusal on author appearances, and POP displays and signage. Bookseller partners are also featured on special communications from Chelsea Green, including e-newsletters, printed newsletters, and occasional advertisements.

Chelsea Green bookseller partners agree to create a "Green Living/Sustainable Living" oriented display comprised of books relating to the environment, sustainability, or related current affairs, among other requirements.