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Environmental Impact Analysis of E-book vs. Paper Book with a Case from Turkey
Technological innovations are changing every aspects of life, and one example is the tools we read. The emergence of electronic books reshaped the reading habits of people. Although e-books have advantages about ease of handling and storage, there is not a certainty regarding to become more eco-friendly way of reading. Even though paper books and e-books do the same work, life cycle stages are extremely different from each other. While paper books cause high paper consumption, electronic devices and energy are the main source of e-book solutions. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a useful tool analyse environmental impacts of a product or service associated with all life cycle stages, which is raw material extraction to end-of-life. Previous studies evaluated environmental impacts of paper books and e-books using LCA method. Most of the studies use general assumptions about reading patterns and ignore the way of getting books; however, reading patterns and accessing books are significant variables affect the magnitude of the impacts. Increase in number of books read on e-book decreases impacts per e-book due to effective use of e-reader. On the other hand, increase in number of reader per paper book decreases magnitude of impact. Transportation of the books is also effective on environmental impacts. While e-books reach the end-user without transportation, paper books have to travel especially much more for rural areas. This study will analyse whether e-book is an eco-friendly solution or not for rural areas. Environmental impacts of paper book and e-book will be determined with LCA method. A chosen town in Turkey will be used to determine effects of transportation. Results give the comparison between impacts of e-book and paper book solutions for this case.