Sunday, October 26, 2008

Green gifts 2008: The Kindle

Last night, I was making my holiday travel arrangements, when it dawned on me that the holiday shopping season will officially gear up next Saturday—probably at 12:01 when Halloween is officially over. I’ve never been much of a planner when it comes to the holidays, but this year, with the economy in the tanker, I’m trying to get a head start so I don’t get a single massive bill in January.

Which leads me to my next few weeks’ posts—ideas for green gift-givers that don’t come across as preachy or judgmental but can still lead the giftee down a greener path. Honestly, who wants another compact fluorescent bulb, reusable shopping bag or travel mug silently reminding them that they’re not as green as they could be?

My first pick is an expensive but super-cool techie gift that I already bought for myself—the Amazon Kindle. Designed as an e-book reader, this gadget also has a wireless connection that allows you to download not just books but newspapers, magazines and blogs as well. I bought mine for superficial reasons (I love to read the newspaper but hate lugging it around and getting black ink all over myself, my bag and anything else the paper rubs up against). And the Kindle's pretty light; I'd say it weighs the same, if not less than, a paperback. Then, after purchasing it, I read a report that wirelessly downloading a year’s worth of newspapers saves 520 pounds of paper, or about 3 trees every year. And the device has a removable battery, so when it dies, you can replace the battery alone—not the entire thing (ahem, Apple, you could learn a thing or two…)

If you’ve got an obsessive reader on your list who’s leery of ditching the comfort of print for something so cold as electronic ink, you can stress the money savings: If she buys a new book every two weeks at $20 a piece (easy to do if you love hardcovers), she’ll save $250 a year, since Amazon sells all their e-books for $10. And that $50-a-month New York Times subscription is a mere $14.

Plus, the cool factor is unbeatable. Even Oprah’s jumped on board.

Kindles sell for $359 on


Michelle said...

I found a great organic artisan gift set @ that would make a great gift for anyone!

The HimalaSalt and Organic Peppercorns are packaged in 100% recycled, refillable, and reusable grinders and containers. They are nested in a locally produced box, made of wood that is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, with excelsior from a sustainable tree program in the Rockies. The kit is wrapped in clear EarthFirst PLA, the only 100% certified compostable corn shrink wrap. With packaging like this, there's nothing to throw away. An important part of their company philosophy is to leave the lightest footprint. By creating the highest quality natural products and doing no harm in the process, they are reinforcing their commitment to a cleaner planet.

GreenFemme said...

Thank you for this great gift idea. My husband and I were just lamenting the lack of refillable grinders, and the recycled and SFI certified packaging is terrific. Unfortunately, though, PLA is not so easily compostable as manufacturers claim; it doesn't decompose in a compost heap, but needs the high temperatures of industrial composters.

tai said...

I bought one [a Kindle] a few months ago. I really like the way it makes it so easy to buy books, especially new ones, and cheap. Problem is, I’ve been buying books for it like crazy, but then I’ll never read them.... Of course, I guess it’s better to have books I’ll never read on the Kindle than death-to-trees-hardbound books stacked by the bed that I’ll also never read.... I find the Kindle rather disconcerting to read in bed. There’s something about a real book.... But maybe I’m just a dinosaur. Or maybe with time I’ll get used to it. I love the Kindle as a travel tool, though. One of my greatest fears is to not have enough books with me when I travel. Of course, these are books I’ll never quite get around to reading, like so many of my other books, but it’s important to me to have plenty, especially on long flights. Nothing worse than running out of stuff to read on a long flight. So I usually stuff my carry on with a half-dozen or so books and maybe I’ll manage to read part of one.... Now I have 20 or so books on the Kindle, and I can just flip from one to another on a long flight and never run out of something to not finish..... The problem with the kindle on a plane, though, is that they make you turn it off during take-off and landing, like a cell phone. So I bring a real book as a back-up....