July 30, 2007

Potter wizardry leaves green mark on book publishing industry

The Harry Potter series has galvanized the world's book industry into going green, says Markets Initiative, a Vancouver-based environmental group that has been working with author JK Rowling since 2003.

From a small start in 2002, when Vancouver's Raincoast Books became the sole publisher to print the first Harry Potter book on Ancient Forest Friendly paper, the trend has mushroomed to the extent that the last book in the Potter series, released this month, is considered within the industry to be the most environmentally friendly in publishing history, with 16 countries printing the book on eco-friendly paper.

Moreover, the Potter series has spurred the development of 32 new ecological papers, six of them exclusively for Potter titles, such as Cascades' Enviro 100 and Schleipen's RC Volumen. No fewer than 84 printers across North America (among them Transcontinental and Friesens) have begun stocking Ancient Forest Friendly or eco-friendly papers for the first time. As well, 300 publishers around the world, including in Germany, Israel and Australia, have been persuaded to print a growing number of their book titles on eco-friendly papers.

"When it comes to green, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is at the top of the book pile," said Nicole Rycroft, executive director of Markets Initiative. The English-language editions of the latest book have saved 197,685 trees (an area equivalent to 2.5 times the size of New York's Central Park) and 7.9 million kilograms of greenhouse gases (equivalent to taking 1,577 cars off the road). The book uses the highest standard of eco-friendly paper for the majority of its print runs.

More information, including a complete eco-audit of Potter No 7, may be viewed on-line at www.marketsinitiative.org.

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