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Lifestyle Sustainability

12 Tips for Eco-Friendly Reading

Reading might not be the first topic that comes to mind when it comes to eco-friendly living. But if you’re a bookworm like me, then you’ll know that it is super easy to bring home the entire bookstore, and quickly tear through a bunch of books. And not only is it hard on the wallet, but it can be environmentally wasteful too.

But luckily, there are plenty of ways to reduce waste and practice eco-friendly reading, that can also save you a buck or two. So let’s check it out..

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. To learn more, see here.

Revisit the Library

Maybe you’ve been neglecting your local library a bit and haven’t visited since you were a kid. Now’s the time to take a trip back to your local library to see what they have to offer.

If you like to keep your books, you could purchase your favorites after you read them through the library. I’ll talk more in-depth about physical books later on in this post.


Related: 10 Free Things You Can Do to Be More Eco-Friendly


Download Library Apps

If you prefer to read on a phone or tablet, check to see if your local library has an app you can download. My library is apart of an app called Libby where I can download free eBooks and audiobooks right onto my phone. Another great app is Hoopla, which is also connected to the library. I personally prefer Hoopla as they have a wider selection of books with no wait times.

Join a Book Subscription Service

Join a book subscription service like Scribd. With Scribd, you get access to almost unlimited digital books, audiobooks and documents right to your device for a monthly fee.

Get 2 months of Scribd for free.


Buy Green Book Accessories

If you like to buy bookish accessories, consider buying second-hand or eco-friendly like, for example, a handmade bookmark or an eco-friendly Kindle case.


Related: 8 Easy Eco-Friendly Swaps for Beginners


Shop Second Hand

This could be in-person at your local second hand bookstore or Goodwill, or on websites like Thrift Books or Abe Books. Why not give a new book a home and pick up some pre-loved gems?

Buy Overstocked Books

Sometimes there are leftover books that were manufactured, but didn’t get sold. That’s where Book Outlet comes in. Book Outlet is an online bookstore that sells overstocked books. You can find so many great, popular books at super cheap prices.


Related: How to Start Reading Nonfiction


Read Digital Magazines

There are some great online magazine services that offer 1000’s of current and backlisted magazines that you can download right onto your phone or tablet. It’s a great way to save paper, plus you get to read any magazine at anytime. I personally use the service Readly, and really love it!

Get 1 month of Readly for free.


Buy Magazines in Bulk

A great way to keep magazines out of the recycle bin is to purchase (or sell) magazines on Ebay. You can find ‘magazine lots’, where a seller groups in a bunch of magazines, (usually of the same kind), and sells them together. Personally, I’ve gotten dozens of science magazines for really cheap that were only a few months to a year old!


Borrow From a Friend

If you know your friend has a book you really want to read, ask if you can borrow it! Just always make sure to leave it in the condition you got it in, and offer to let them borrow a book from your collection too.

Host a Book Exchange

Another option is to host a book exchange with friends. You can trade in a book you no longer want to keep, and get a different book in return.


Start a Little Free Library in Your Neighborhood

You might have seen this trend go around the internet the past couple of years. A Little Free Library is a small book stand someone sets up in their area that allows people to come in and borrow a book, and leave one behind. It’s like a communal bookshelf to help inspire a love of reading in your community.

Check out the Little Free Library map to find one in your area.


Related: 12 Best Hobbies for Introverts


Donate Old Books to Your Library 

Why not pay it forward, and help keep your local library running by donating old books? It’s great to know that the books you once loved will go on to be enjoyed by many.

How Will You Practice Eco-Friendly Reading?

Now that you know these 12 eco-friendly reading tips, which ones will you try out? Do you have any more suggestions? Share them in the comments below!

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  1. I love these ideas! I hardly ever buy a brand new book. I get most of mine second-hand in charity shops, and I’m lucky enough to have a free mini-library in an old telephone box just up the road from me! When I want to buy a specific book but I can’t find it second-hand, I go for an e-book version because that cuts down on paper altogether and also saves space in my home!

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