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This paper presents the findings of a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of two different book options-electronic and print. This study compared the life-cycle burdens and impacts of a college student reading 40 scholarly textbooks and the equivalent amount of digitized information (53.6-MB) using a dedicated e-book reading device. Total primary energy, material and water requirements, air and water pollutant emissions, and solid wastes for each system were evaluated. By comparing these two book options, this study provides industry, consumers, and policy makers with valuable information necessary to make environmentally informed decisions regarding e-book technologies.
Date of Conference: 19-22 May 2003