As a bibliomaniac, we know the struggle faced while trying to lead a zero-waste lifestyle. To desire to be able to read as many books as you wish to and at the same time, lead a sustainable lifestyle. To resist the urge of purchasing that new book to add into your ever-growing collection of book.
But fret not! Here are some tips on how to be sustainable while being able to gobble those books like no one’s business! (Based on our own experiences 😉 )
Go back to the basics – Borrow
The very first step we all can do is simply to borrow books! Head down to your nearest public library and browse through the wide selection it has to offer. With 27 public libraries spread across Singapore, these are easily accessible to all of us! If you are a student, head over to your school library and enjoy the resources you can tap on.
Besides borrowing from the library, you can borrow from your friends or family members!
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure – Preloved Books
Preloved books are another considerate way to prevent books from going into the landfills. In Singapore, there are so many platforms that allow you to purchase second-hand books. These books are usually in good condition and come at very affordable prices, ranging from $5 to $10!
For physical shops, you can check out:
- Bookwhale: A newly launched online marketplace that makes buying and selling pre-loved books easy! They provide a scan-to-list method and direct shipping services to readers for a much better experience. In addition, they have teamed up with various cafes to place a collection of books in which you can take, donate or swap.
- Bras Basah Complex: There are at least 3 -4 shops dedicated to selling pre-loved books!
- Carousell: Needless to say, we are well aware that carousell has a wide range of preloved books waiting for you to bring them home!
- Dignity Mama Stall: An initiative of Project Dignity Pte Ltd for youths with special needs, Dignity Mama Stall allow mum to co-work with their children and equips youth with the skills to run and manage a stall. All of the pre-loved books sold are donated, sorted and priced reasonably to generate income.
Swap them all!
Swapping is the new buying. Besides borrowing and purchasing, why not do a book swap? Swap your personal collections with others and also get a glimpse into their personal collections.
Some books swapping groups in Singapore include:
- Books & Beer: One of the most established book swaps in Singapore, Books & Beer has been around since June 2011. Book swaps are organised once every two months and typically takes place over three hours during a weekend, at a centrally-located F&B venue. While the swop is on-going, attendees will typically purchase a drink or two, engage in conversation with new friends, read a new book they’ve picked up…
- The Book Swap Club: Primarily a book-swapping group, this club might engage in some form of socialising while swapping and maybe even discuss the books we intend to exchange. It will not be like other book/reading clubs where you get together to discuss a particular book, but it’s meant for you to refresh your library with other books you have not read. They meet every 2 months at a convenient location, usually in town after work.
- Facebook Group (Singapore Books Free Used Buy Sell Swap Exchange Fiction NonFiction): With about 500 members on board, this Facebook Group is a platform for you to swap, sell, exchange any types of books!
As much as we are heading towards a digital society, you can participate too with books! But before you purchase a Kindle or any other forms of e-reader, do think twice! According to one life-cycle analysis of printed books versus e-readers, the energy, water, and raw materials needed to make a single e-reader is equal to that of 40-to-50 books. In terms of the effect on the climate, the emissions created by a single e-reader are equal to roughly 100 books. Hence, only if you are very sure that you are an avid reader, then go ahead and get that e-reader.
An alternative? Why not borrow e-books from the National Library? Did you know, NLB ebooks can be browsed and searched via eReads? Each book can be borrowed for a period of about 21 days. Not only does it save you the money from spending on an e-reader, it also allows you to enjoy a wide range of books!
Know of any other ways to be a sustainable book lover? Share them with us!