I’ve always enjoyed reading, but in the last year and a half or so, it’s become a much bigger part of my life than it had been. At the start of 2016, I decided to read fiction written by women only (#feministkilljoy). It started off as a fun experiment, but led me to discover some wonderful authors and stories I may not have done otherwise, and I haven’t really looked back since. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking of ways that my love for reading could have a positive effect not just on myself but in the wider world, too.
You might not have considered the potential waste around reading as a hobby and, truth be told, there are plenty of other areas that require closer attention in this regard. That said, any activity which involves consuming – in this case, books – could benefit from a little critical assessment, so I thought I would share some ways you can minimise the waste your reading routine creates.
1 | Use an e-reader
This might be controversial, and it certainly wasn’t something I went into lightly. Towards the end of last year, I found myself getting through books a lot more quickly. A lot of the books I was reading (I was big into thrillers…still am) would likely not be revisited, so they’d just take up space on my bookshelf until I had a clearout. I knew that an e-reader would give me the option to minimise my physical collection; I was generously gifted one for Christmas, and have been using it steadily ever since.
One of the things that put me off moving to an e-reader the most was the idea of no longer buying books. Shopping for, and owning, books is a favourite thing of mine to do. However, rather than give that up completely, it’s become that bit more special. These days, when I do invest in a physical book, it’s a beautiful one that I know I’ll hold dear for many moons.
2 | Use a library
If you’re as avid a reader as I am, you’ll know that it isn’t cheap. Signing up for a membership at your local library can be a great way to enjoy your reading habit without breaking the bank. Additionally, of course, you’re consuming less in borrowing books rather than buying them. You’re also showing vital support for your library.
3 | Book swap with friends
Last Christmas, I got together with my writing group and we each brought a book along as a present, which we swapped with another person in the group, so that we all went away with a new book to read. Book swaps offer an affordable, fun way to read something new, as well as giving someone else the opportunity to gain a new book based on your recommendation. They’re not just for Christmas, either – why not organise one at work, in your friendship group or at your local community centre?
4 | Purchase books from an ethical and/or independent retailer
If you’ve not yet moved over to an e-reader and are still buying physical books, why not try to purchase from an ethical retailer? Visiting independent bookshops can be a really fun way to spend the day, and the inevitable haul you come away with will feel that much better.
Owning a Kindle means that most of the books I read are purchased through Amazon, which is less than ideal in terms of ethics. I’d be fibbing if I said I shop wholly ethically for books at the moment, but this is definitely something I’d like to start working towards.
Do you have any tips for reducing your impact and waste around reading? Let me know in the comments below!