fsc02.jpgA major UK book publisher, HarperCollins, has just announced that from October 2007 onwards, it will be printing its entire paperback range on environmentally friendly paper. The first paperback to be printed this way will be Josephine Cox’s new novel, “The Loner”, hitting bookshelves on October 1st. In a partnership with the Forest Stewardship Council, all mass market paperbacks will carry the FSC tick-tree symbol, indicating that the paper has come from sustainably-managed forests in which the environment and the lives of forest-dependent people are protected.


With HarperCollins’ other books including hardbacks, trade paperbacks and some colour titles that are already printed on FSC or recycled paper, this amounts to 33m books, which is about about 55% their entire catalogue.

As one of the biggest fiction publishers, carrying titles of top selling authors such as Michael Crichton, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Agatha Christie, J R R Tolkien and C S Lewis, this is particularly significant just before the Christmas book-buying rush. It’s also a testimony to the changing demands of ordinary consumers, as it follows a survey in which 94% of UK book buyers said they worried about the environment, and 75% wanted more books to be printed on environmentally friendly paper.


I think this is a very important move, and other publishers will doubtless follow the lead. It’s a great demonstration of how a change of mindset in consumers creates the possibility of industries changing their behaviour on a large scale for environmental good. It’ll also make me feel better about the green credentials of some of my Christmas gifts this year.




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