Sustainable Reading - Physical vs. Digital Books

What we aimed to achieve when creating Saxo Access was to make it easy to purchase, distribute, and read digital books. However, sustainability plays a significant role every time new initiatives are considered. Therefore, a pertinent question when discussing digital reading is whether this way of reading is more sustainable and environmentally friendly than reading physical books.

At first glance, the answer may seem straightforward when considering the resources associated with producing a printed book. However, the degree of sustainability depends on many different factors.

It plays a role in calculating the carbon footprint of a digital book, whether a new device is purchased in order to read the digital book, or if an existing device is used, which also has other purposes, e.g a mobile phone. Additionally, the calculation of the environmental and climate impact of each physical book compared to digital ones depends on how many times the physical book is read by different individuals, and whether it is borrowed or resold after reading.

At Saxo Access, we have come up with two recommendations:

  1. If a book is intended to be read by only one person for a specific purpose, such as education or for training purposes, it should be considered whether a digital alternative is a better solution in terms of the book's carbon footprint.
  2. When buying a digital book, use an existing device to read the book. Investing in dedicated eBook readers has a significant environmental impact and only makes sense in regards to sustanability, if it is used to read a large number of books.

What powers Saxo Access?

Like any other online store and streaming service, Saxo Access uses hosting through data centers to power and Saxo Access apps. and Saxo Access apps are hosted by Google Cloud. Google Cloud actively engages in sustainability, and you can read more about Google Cloud's sustainability efforts here.