Reimagining the concept of the book in light of sustainability

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstract


Sustainability has various dimensions, including environmental, economic, social, political and cultural aspects. The book as a technology and as a concept has strong connections with all of these. Both print books and e-books have an environmental impact, and from an economic point of view, book publishing is a global market with enormous reach. Access to books and what we write in them touches on social, political and cultural issues from poverty to social inclusion and from censorship to freedom of speech. Considering the current environmental, economic and social crises across the world, continuing on the existing road is unsustainable. Rewriting the story of the book through the lens of sustainability might be one way to find a path forward. This paper takes a holistic approach to reimagining the book within the framework of sustainability. We consider in particular what boundaries we might be pushing with e-books. We argue that innovative and fresh narratives about the sustainability of the book, in all its forms, will help us to understand the future role of not just the book but of information in human society.


ConferenceThe Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand (BSANZ) Annual Conference 2020
OtherThe BSANZ 2020 conference committee has decided that, in order to provide certainty to prospective delegates, we will make plans to host this year’s conference in an online format. While travel restrictions may ease between Australia and New Zealand by late November, it is unlikely that mass gatherings will be advisable at that time and yet we feel strongly that it is important our organisation’s members and friends continue to share research and give feedback. We hope to be able to do this as effectively as possible in an online conference. We will release details of the format soon.
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