Perhaps the truly green choice in reading is an electronic reading device, especially now that Amazon created a recycling program for the Kindle and its batteries. But my environmentalism has its limits, and Ed Begley Jr. would have to tear books out of my cold dead hands before I’d ever buy a Kindle. I’m an old-school reader, a book nerd. When settling into a comfy chair or a hammock to do some serious reading, there’s no substitute for the real thing.
To atone for my book-buying ways, I’m seeking ways to reduce the amount of paper that feeds my reading habit. Here are some of my favorite ways to reduce-reuse-recycle books:
Have you ever discovered a place so wonderful that instead of being happy to find it, you can only be mad that you didn’t know about it earlier? That’s how I felt the minute I walked into Julia’s Coffee & Used Bookstore. As part of Habitat for Humanity-Charlotte, Julia’s sells a wide selection of used books and accepts book donations as well, the profits of which support Habitat Charlotte. Julia’s also offers a menu of eco-friendly coffees, all from certified organic beans and roasted here in NC. Settle into a table enjoy your coffee and book finds. Book donations, used book sales, and organic coffee? It’s an EcoFlirt hat trick!
Real Eyes in NoDa celebrated its grand re-opening last month after its move from its former location right next door. This is a cozy little store that will happily take your old books and provide you with credits toward new ones. Grab a coffee or tea at their bar and settle into a couch or oversized chair. Real Eyes is a resource for the Charlotte literary community as well: they offer signings from local authors, book clubs, as well as writer’s workshops. Make this another stop on your NoDa gallery crawl. Just remember to bring your old books and a (reusable!) bag large enough to fit your haul of new ones.
And, of course, the libraries. Charlotte libraries have been a hot news topic after the announcement to close twelve libraries (GAH!!) to save money. Although the ensuing (and appropriate) community outrage kept those branches open, they’re still an endangered resource in Charlotte. What better way to be an eco-friendly reader than to borrow books? So go check out those books currently sitting in your Amazon cart and use that money to throw a few bucks to the Charlotte library system.
Now this is nifty: this site allows you to list books you’re willing to trade. When someone requests your book, you earn a credit so that you can pick up a book of someone else’s. It’s a nation-wide book trading club. You pay for the postage to send your book but pay no charge to receive one. Instead of going out to buy that new book, take it off the hands of someone who’s done with it and get a new one while you’re at it. And if you love it? Keep it, guilt-free. You’ve saved trees and money.
Any other ideas for green reading in Charlotte and beyond? What are your favorite used book stores or sites?