How to Make Financially Viable Eco-Friendly Paperbacks
Author- Anjali Roongta
When someone mentions sustainability, we think they are talking about the environment alone. However, sustainability is multi-faceted and involves environmental, social, and financial aspects. To cater to customer demands, publishers are going green. Yet how are we to make affordable eco-friendly paperbacks if the raw materials themselves cost more than a non-sustainable series? Are paperbacks about to become a thing of the past? Will they be unable to keep up with the sustainability requirements of the eco-conscious writer and reader? Also consider, they have to compete with piracy and cheaper digital copies. Fear not, for there may be ways to make sustainable paperbacks that are affordable. To their target audience at least.
In our previous blog, we covered how publishers could make eco-friendly books. We also shared how they could encourage sustainable reading and writing. In this one, we cover how publishers can make those practices affordable.
While theoretically, eco-friendly books made on recycled paper should be cheaper to make, the reality is different. Due to the need for more labor and the processing involved, recycled paper usually costs more than virgin paper. Furthermore, PoD, or Print-on-Demand services, increases the cost of printing a copy. This is without trying to include eco-inks . While making a completely eco-friendly book is not impossible, as proved by Tara Books, it can be difficult to make it affordable to the masses. Muses_Saga is on a mission to do just that. We provide eco-friendly books at no cost to people or the planet, through our sustainable online reading program. E-books are also easy to price in an affordable manner as there are fewer resources and labour involved in the making of one. The cost of shipping is also nil in the case of e-books.
The question then remains, how do we make sustainable paperbacks and hardcovers that are also economical?
Tips for Making Financially Sustainable Eco-Friendly Paperbacks
· Know your fixed costs-
Knowledge of the costs that you have to cover no matter, whether you publish a book or not, is essential when making a financial plan. And unless you have a financial plan, you won’t be able to make long-term decisions. You might price products wrong. Or not know how many products you need to sell a month to keep your business afloat.
· Look for alternatives-
While it might not seem like it, there are several vendors with sustainable products and services. Therefore, it is imperative for you to find vendors who can provide the value you need for your work within a budget you can afford. Do remember, paying a fair wage is part of being sustainable too.
· Give the customer value-
Perhaps it is time the paperback industry changes. We mass-produced paperbacks to make them cheaper. So perhaps a sustainable paperback has to be a personalized experience.
· Scale your business-
There is a reason mass production worked. It reduces the price of making one book. If there is a way you can produce books without increasing waste and washing resources, then scaling your business is a good idea. You can donate books that aren’t bought to libraries for one instead of pulping them. It might decrease your profit margins, however, so it isn’t the perfect solution- if we can consider it a solution at all.
· Education and awareness:
Providing information on sustainable publishing can help authors and readers understand their impact. It also communicates to them their power. This can result in them making more informed decisions and buying more eco-friendly books.
· Green procurement:
Encouraging authors, and readers to consider the environment when making decisions can help. As a publisher, you can make it easy for readers to choose sustainable options by labeling them. Extra coupons and discounts could be provided, if economical, for eco-friendly products. Or they could be personalized products.
The paperback industry is at an impasse- how to make eco-friendly books that are affordable without sacrificing so much profit that the whole production needs to shut down thus affecting hundreds of livelihoods in a negative manner. It is time for a change. Follow our blogs to see how to make ethical, eco-friendly, and financially viable books aka, the publishers’ guide to sustainable paperbacks.