E-Books – The Most Sustainable Choice

Since I started publishing books in late 2016, I have been collecting input and feedback from folks about the format. (My books are all in digital format). I've also kept careful track of how many have showed interest in hard copy.

Today, I'm going to share my findings and the feedback with you. To be perfectly honest, it wasn't at all what I expected.

Digital vs Analog 

Despite questionnaires, queries, newsletters, and inviting folks to leave comments on my website, the total number of people asking for hard copy - after 3 plus years - doesn't even come to 25.

This isn't at all what I expected.

In many respects, I am a fan of hard copy. I take notes on paper and grew up with 'hard copy everything'. My own formulating notebooks take up quite a bit of shelf space.

Yet - to my own surprise - I was one of the first to clear out my bookshelves of novels, dictionaries, and most of my other books as soon as e-books became available. I mean, how cool is it to be able to read a mammoth huge thick book (that would otherwise weigh down your arms if it was hard copy) and easily flick through pages with the mere swipe of a finger?

And how cool is it to have a book with a built in reading light and endlessly adjustable text size?

And how cool is it to have a book where you can do a search for specific content and be whisked instantly to the exact spot you need at the touch of a finger?

And how cool is it to have a whole library of information that doesn't need to be dusted and where you can find the book you need in a mere moment?

Digital really does rock when you think about it.

And here's an anomaly.

Despite all this digital love, I continue to take notes on paper (although the digital is definitely beginning to have a serious presence).

Planet-Friendly Carbon Footprint

During all this time of asking folks about their reading format preference and considering how much of a carbon footprint printing, packaging, and distributing hard copy books would make - not to mention the waiting time for the customer who bought the book, it became clear to me that digital is really the only way to go.

Delivery waiting time: moments after purchase

Cost of Shipping: zero, zilch, nada, absolutely nothing

It's kind of a no-brainer, wouldn't you say?

Quality Pics - Even on Print

Because my books are richly illustrated, I wanted them to look great on screen but also to print out well.

Thanks to the possibilities available to modern publishers, they have been configured to print out clearly and crisply with full-color beautiful graphics.

Print The Part You Need

Being able to print out a section or single page can be a real advantage if you are the kind of person who likes to 'tick off' each ingredient and step of the process as you work. Even better if you like to make notes as you go - like having a worksheet/journal of the formula. All you need to do is add the date to the page and you've got a ready-made page for your own cosmetics-making journal.

And you can do it as many times as you want.

Digital for the Win

So, after hemming and hawing about whether or not to do a small print run and make hard copy available, the arguments just kept stacking up against it.

I mean, it's not really in keeping with wanting to be sustainable and roots-friendly. It has been impossible for me to find a good enough argument to make the move to analog, so I decided to stick with digital.

There are additional advantages to working digitally and I think this next one is a real kicker.

Hard Copy Can't Do This Either

Anyone who has bought the shampoo book (and didn't unsubscribe from my mailing list) has already experienced a FREE update.  All they had to do was respond to a newsletter and then click a download link.

They got fresh formulation info, an added suppliers list, and corrected typos - all do-able because it's all digital - and at no extra cost!

Imagine getting a free new copy of any hard copy book when there were available updates? I do believe we will all be waiting a very long time for that to happen.

Like, maybe even forever.

In Conclusion

Try as I might, I can't seem to find a good enough reason to increase the carbon footprint by doing hard copy. I hope you agree, but I think you do, as less than 25 of you have asked for hard copy of any of my books.

Thanks for reading!

Visit the LisaLise E-Book overview page or join the newsletter subscribers for lots of cool stuff. 


Do Tell

Are you a hard core hard copy person? Or do you delight in digital? Please leave a comment below. 


Hi Lise,
I was always a great fan of having a proper book in my hand. One of those things I grew up with & learnt to look after & love.
After having moved several times, my book collection is still stored in boxes as I’ve no room in the house to store them. They are lovely too. Some from my childhood in immaculate condition.
I take all my notes on paper for cosmetics & Candlemaking. I just work quicker that way. I think I’m resigned to be vintage.
I’ve recently purchased a few ebooks & I'm trying to get into reading that way. Only one day, I licked my finger when I tried to turn the page on my device! Lol.
Sharon. Xxx
Hi Lise,
I am a hard copy fan all the way! Still trying to save up and buy one of your e-books 💖
Hope you are doing well otherwise
LisaLise said…
@Two Sheep Soapery - OMG you made me bust out laughing with your licked the finger to turn the page' . Thank you for sharing!

@Unicorn in the Making - Thank you for your kind words. Are you signed up for my newsletter? There are special discounts and offers for subscribers that aren't available anywhere else. :)
Kirsten said…
Hi Lisa Lise!
Yes, I just signed up and thank you, I am enjoying reading your blog about: Who prefers hard covers?
Well, I do!!
I am learning how to formulate (just finished a project @ 2:00 am) and I am a very creative, visual and esthetic person that loves beautiful things around. Therefore, having your book(s) in hardcover would allow me to to display them (opened to my favorite page of the moment) in different rooms like artifacts.
About delivery? No worries...I'll come in person to pick-them-up, that way we can meet. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Good night, Kirsten
LisaLise said…
Hi Kirsten — thanks for sharing - and for your impressive offer of personal pickup. How cool would it be to be able to do that. :D
Laureline said…
Hi LisaLise ! :)
I totally agree with your choice to not print the book in order to reduce the carbon footprint... and yet I love hard copies ! I purchased a few of your ebooks, and had I seen the questionnaires, I would have been one of the 25 ^^

There are several online printing services that allow customers to print just one copy of a book (they usually specialize in photo book so the quality of the pictures are great), so I was wondering: Would it be ok to print a hard copy of one of your ebooks through one of these services ? With your authorization, of course !

Looking forward to hearing from you,
LisaLise said…
Hey there Laureline - thanks so much for your comment. If it is for personal use, it is OK to print out a copy of the book for yourself. The books are configured to print out in good quality. I have had the thought of doing this for myself but haven't gotten around to it yet. :)