Can I Get a Recycled Book, Please?
Would it surprise you if you were told that Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, the fifth in the Harry Potter series. that you read in India may have been different from what a friend of yours read at the same time in Canada? And the same for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince?
Yes, there was a difference for sure, but it was not with the story that JK Rowling wrote. The stories were the same; the difference was in the way the books was produced. The 2003 “Order of the Phoenix” and the 2005 “Half-Blood Prince” were both printed in Canada on 100 per cent recycled paper in an explicit move to make the publishing industry more environment and forest friendly. Just this one act helped save 67,000 trees from the axe.
At the source of the initiative was a Greenpeace International Campaign to ‘green’ the book publishing industry — a campaign that was supported by a number of well known authors such as JK Rowling, Ian Rankin, Günter Grass, and Isabel Allende.
While this might be a snapshot of what is happening in other parts of the world, little is known of the situation in India. A quick visit to the book store or even the street corner magazine vendor is good enough to give an idea of this boom that has taken place in publishing here. Analysts of the publishing industry estimate that there are nearly 20,000 publishers in India and we produce almost one lakh (yes, one lakh) titles every year. India today stands as the third largest publishing country in the English-speaking world and seventh largest in the world.
The impact that this will have on the demand for paper, and for the trees and bamboo that paper is made from can well be imagined. According to the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association nearly 1,000,000 tons of waste paper are being currently recovered annually for the paper industry. While this is a huge quantity it turns out this recovery rate is about 20 per cent and much lower than the 65 per cent recovery achieved by many global players. There is huge potential for improvement here and in many other big and small ways.