“One of the main reasons consumers enjoy reading digital magazines is because they feel like they are doing something good for the environment,” so says Zinio.com chief Rich Maggiotto in Digital Magazine News. But are digital magazines any greener than print?
Notice Maggiotto does not say his offerings are less damaging to the environment, but rather that people think they are. This reminds me of British Rail, which was always happy for people to say trains were greener than cars, but resisted making the claim itself. Trains may be better in the rush hour, but a nearly empty InterCity train running from London to Edinburgh at up to 140mph is hardly anyone’s idea of being green. And then there’s all that s*** being dumped on tracks up and down the country as passengers flush the loo…
It’s the same with digital magazines. Fine, there is no paper involved, no delivery lorries, but what about all that power being eaten up as you read the title on screen (probably about 200W an hour – the same as leaving 2 old-style lights on)? And a PC has to be just about the most damaging piece of kit in a household when it comes to the environment. Huge amounts of water and energy are used in its manufacture and then there are those plastics and poisonous metals to recycle.
Think I’d better switch off now.