books, Publishing, writing

Sustainable Publishing from the Greenies in Oregon

Portland State U. is leading the charge. From The Portland Tribune:

Graduate students in the publishing program first started talking about sustainable publishing almost a year ago, says Dennis Stovall, program director for PSU’s student-run Ooligan Press.

Using their cut of $70,000 in grant money, the students researched wrote, produced and published a mini-book, called “Rethinking Paper & Ink: The Sustainable Publishing Revolution.” It’s available for free from Ooligan Press.

Each book in the series will be made with the most sustainable choices possible and include information describing each choice made during the manufacturing process.

A Dutch communications company, SPRANQ, created a special ‘eco-font’ which puts holes in the letters (I’m guessing very very tiny ones) resulting in 20% less ink usage. You can even download it free from their site.

Maybe we die-hard book lovers won’t have to give up our beloved physical books entirely.


10 thoughts on “Sustainable Publishing from the Greenies in Oregon”

  1. You guys would appreciate the conversation I had on New Years’ Day with my 17-year-old neighbor, a truly interesting young woman, who’d gotten an I-phone for Xmas but wasn’t in the least bit interested in using it to download e-books. She sounded just like us old babes: “Oh no: I like the feel of a paper book in my hands, the smell of it, and oh yeah, what about the ones you find by accident when browsing at a bookstore or a yard sale?!” She gave me hope for the future.


  2. That is encouraging. It feels like everyone’s having their hand forced. Whether they want to or not, publishers are caving in and focusing on e-books. Ya know, the old ‘everyone’s doing it, so everyone’s doing it.’ Sure, they don’t want to be the one caught napping, but I wonder how much real demand there is from the public for e-books versus paper books.


  3. MaryJ,

    I love that! She’d fit in with us very well. 🙂


    So true. It does seem a lot of people in the industry are focusing on e-books only because they think they should- not because of any large demand for it. Here in Germany, I can tell you there is little to no interest in them. In fact, I saw a bit on the news where they interviewed some German publisher. He was actually very angry at the e-book direction the US was taking, and all the dangerous repercussions it would mean for the industry. Germany, by the way, has the second largest book publishing industry after the US.

    And in case any e-book lovers are reading this, I’m not, “death to e-books”. I simply believe they should be something available for those who like them- but never replace physical books.

    Another thing- it seems to me, too many people in the biz are looking to e-readers as this magical devise that will revitalize the industry. Instead, why don’t they focus more on publishing GOOD books (and not just what they think might be trendy), and allow time for a writer’s readership to grow?


    1. Unfortunately, all publishers want is the ‘next big thing’ and are not interested in taking a chance on a new author. They just want the next Stephenie Meyer, or J.K. Rowling (not that I’m equating their writing, only their runaway success), although both were unknowns when they landed book deals. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal on publishing the other day talking about how publishers almost expect you to already have a following of some kind before you approach them.

      The Death of the Slushpile


      1. Excellent 🙂 I haven’t had a chance to try it out myself, don’t have the printer even hooked up right now. Let me know how you like it if you have a chance to check it out.


  4. You guys are so smart. All I can say is that this desperate search for The Next Been Thing has been around since recorded history, and the best art has always taken place underground, away from the mainstream. I’m not anti-Ebook either, but the market will take care of that phenomenon: either it’ll succeed on its merits, or it’ll become the next 8-track tape deck. As for us, if we keep reading and writing, it’ll keep us alive until the written word, in whatever format, comes back in style.

    (p.s. – have either of you seen the Great Performances telecast of the Broadway musical “Passing Strange” that’s been making the rounds on PBS? It’s just amazing – at one point, the narrator, a middle-aged musician, has an argument with his 20-something alter ego about whether all this focus on making art has any real value in real life. The kid stares down his older self, and declares “Life is a mistake that only Art can correct.” It stops my heart every time!)


  5. I haven’t seen it, but someone at work told me about it just the other day. He echoed your opinion, and said it’s the best thing he’s ever seen. I’ll have to keep a lookout for it.


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