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Sustainable Publishing

Sustainable Publishing poster logo

Sustainable Publishing is here!

What exactly is Sustainable Publishing?

It's a new perspective Broken Keys Publishing & Press will be spearheading and embracing. It's a new take on literature, books, writing, authors, poets, printing, publishing, and even the venues, stores, and locations our books will be available at.


As of March of 2024

Broken Keys Publishing & Press

will be going eco-friendly, but

in ways you've likely never imagined!



The more paper that is used,

the more trees are planted.

The more trees planted, the more carbon is

sequestered from the atmosphere.


Myth: It is a widely and erroneously believed myth that printing and printed books are bad for the environment and contribute to deforestation.

Fact: The truth and reality is the paper mill industry puts more trees in the ground than they take out.*


Myth: Paper is not sustainable.

Fact: Sustainable Forest Management helps sequester carbon, and fights the effects of climate change and contribute towards the reduction of carbon footprints and global warming.*


Myth: It is often assumed the paper mill industry engages in clear-cutting practices.

Fact: Sustainable Forest Management and clear-cutting are drastically different practices. Clear-cutting is wonton and indiscriminate deforestation. Sustainable Forest Management is more akin to a farmer's crops. They are nurtured, harvested, and not only replanted, but excessively replanted.

Myth: The printing process requires harsh and harmful inks and chemistry.

Fact: Vegetable-based inks are a renewable resource and do not require harmful chemicals for cleaning the printing presses. Vegetable-based inks are easier to de-ink as opposed to petroleum-based inks in the recycling process. Soy and vegetable-based inks are widely recognized as the environmentally friendly choice.


Myth: The manufacturing of printed books consumes large amounts of fossil fuels.

Fact: The foresting industry (and in turn, paper) is at the top of the list when it comes to on-site electricity generation of any manufacturing sector. Some paper mills generate renewable energy at a rate +76.3%.*


Myth: E-Books are environmentally friendly and carry no carbon footprint.

Fact: Mobile phones, e-readers, devices, notebooks, data centers, and telecommunication networks are slated to become the single biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses by 2020.*


Myth: E-Books are environmentally friendly and carry no carbon footprint.

Fact: All e-books must be viewed through an electronic device and all electronic devices require batteries and internet service.* Lithium is toxic.**** It is a poison, and lithium batteries disposed of into landfills release toxins and heavy metals into the soil and groundwater.

  • A study from Australia found that 98.3% of lithium batteries end up in landfills. 

  • The more batteries in landfills, the higher the chances of landfill fires. Landfill fires burn for years.

  • Only about 5% of the world’s lithium batteries are recycled.

  • Then there is the manufacturing cost, carbon footprint, and disposal of the electronic devices themselves. The manufacturing process of a smartphone accounts for about 85% of its carbon footprint, making it the most damaging device to the environment.

  • The plastic housing of the cell phone contribute to the dangerous problem of microplastics. 84% of all e-waste ends up in landfills each year.


Myth: E-books will make paperback books obsolete.

Fact: E-books have never been the majority in sales vs printed books and have been on a decline since the mid-20-teens.***

Myth: E-Books are harmless.

Fact: Amazon's (holding 72% of the e-reader market in 2022) real market isn't the e-book, but their user's data. There are currently no federal laws to stop them from surveilling people who read digital books across the entire internet, or selling or sharing this information to various political ends. Your privacy is not protected.**


Myth: What about the shipping and transportation of printed books?

The transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily coming from burning fossil fuels in cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes, representing 28% of all greenhouse gas emissions.***** Once this is factored into the equation wouldn't this make printed books bad for the environment?

Fact: At Broken Keys Publishing & Press we make use of a combination of local printing and worldwide Print-on-Demand services (like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Thalia, etc.)

When we print locally, these books are pickup by either ourselves or our authors and essentially have no shipping to speak of. These copies are for our author's books-on-hand for events, local book signings, launches, free promotional copies, etc.

Traditional methods of non-sustainable publishers for worldwide orders would generally run as follows: Order is received and paid for. The title is retrieved from their inventory, packaged, and shipped. Let's say from Ottawa, Canada, to Heidelberg, Germany. The package would be transported via mail truck to a depot. Possibly transported again via tractor-trailer to a port or airport. From the airport it would fly across the Atlantic and arrive in another airport in Heidelberg. From there, once again, in a ground vehicle to a postal service, and from there finally to the customer. Yes, this would consume a lot of fuel and leave a significant carbon footprint for a single book.

However, at Broken Keys Publishing & Press, worldwide orders do not come from our local inventory and shipped. We don't keep on-hand inventories. For worldwide orders we use Print-on-Demand services. Using the above example, an associated print-shop, likely in Heidelberg itself, would print the single copy, package it, and delivery via local delivery van to the customer; a minimal distance, thus cutting the transportation emission down to its absolute minimum. (Not to mention costing the customer a very small shipping charge if not free. Shipping books worldwide through traditional non-sustainable publishing methods can become exorbitant (which the customer will ultimately pay).


Lithium extraction fields in South America have been captured by an aerial photographer in stunning high definition (August 6th, 2022).


Lithium Leach Fields are used in the mining and extraction of Lithium, a core component of batteries used in both electric vehicles and cell phones (including e-readers), and represent the dark side of our swiftly electrifying world. That contrary to commonly held beliefs, mining this element can be harmful to the environment.


Lithium can be described as the non-renewable mineral that makes renewable energy possible - often touted as the next oil. However, any type of resource extraction is harmful to the planet. This is because removing these raw materials can result in soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss, damage to ecosystem functions and an increase in global warming.


When we think of extraction, we think of fossil fuels like coal and gas. However, Lithium also falls under the same umbrella.


The production of lithium through evaporation ponds uses around 21 million litres per day. Approximately 2.2 million litres of water is needed to produce one ton of lithium. A similar report published in 2021 by the nonprofit BePe (Bienaventuradors de Pobres) also identifies water as a primary concern for lithium mining operations.


It claims that not enough research has been done on the potential contamination of water and “activity must be stopped until studies are available to reliably determine the magnitude of the damage.”


Gleb Yushin, a professor at the School of Materials and Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, US, argues that new battery technology needs to be developed using more common, environmentally-friendly materials. His paper is published in the journal Nature, alongside co-authors including Kostiantyn Turcheniuk.

At the end of the day, Sustainable Publishing is about makes a choice.


E-books = lithium poisoning of the Earth


Printed books = trees that breathe oxygen into the atmosphere


At Broken Keys Publishing & Press, we choose the latter.


The above are all simple facts.


But there is also my own personal, subjective experiences. From late 2015 to late 2019, all my data were from my own titles' sales. My e-book sales presented slightly under 3% (2.92%). I never gave it very much thought. Could have been my particular demographic or readership. The data-set was too small (one author, myself). Any number of thoughts went through my mind. I accepted the extra formatting and layout work as a necessary evil.



But fast forward to the end of 2023, having fully launching into publishing, with 14 signed authors, having worked with 23 other authors through anthologies, etc., spread across multiple genres - fiction, horror, poetry, self-help, journaling, religion, satire, children's books, young adult, fantasy, sci-fi, historic fiction - alongside American authors including one in Belgium, with the vast majority of these titles available worldwide, this becomes a much larger and more detailed data-set....and to my surprise, the numbers were nearly identical. 3.37% were e-books.



These number tie into the trend we've seen occurring since the mid-20-teens; a combination of decreased e-book sales and increased printed editions.


From a purely business point of view e-books need to be questioned. From a cost/resource point of view, decisions need to be made. Add to the equation the environmental factors and damage... and answer becomes obvious.

Sustainable Publishing.


What does this mean?


We will be part of the solution, not part of the problem, and we will be making decisions based on our beliefs. We will be an exemplar.


It has always been an unofficial and unspoken rule at Broken Keys Publishing & Press that children's titles are not, and will not, be available in any electronic format. Paperback and print editions only. Children do not need more electronic devices or screen time. Children's books are to be a tactile experience and one meant to be shared with their parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, brothers & sisters, and loved ones. There is a bonding associated with sharing a story.


As of March 2024 we will no longer be publishing our titles with the e-book option. We will not be delisting or unpublishing previous published e-book titles (unless their authors or poets specifically request it).


Our titles - both old and new - will still be available in print editions worldwide (through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Thalia, Walmart, and other Print-on-Demand services), and of course we will be printing copies locally for our authors, writers, and poets. So you can rest assured, if you support our local literary talents, you will also be supporting our local bookshops and printing industry as well. It is time #supportlocal becomes more than just a popular hashtag.


It means we will be putting more focus on our local independent bookstores. As the big-box bookstores struggle through their identity crisis, morphing towards becoming knick-knack shops, it is our hope that life will be breathed anew into our local retail bookshops. We will be organizing book signing, meet-and-greets, lectures, Q-&-A's, and events through Ottawa and surrounding Region's independent bookstores.


Interested in learning more? You can tune into Daytime Ottawa TV, with host Derick Fage, for a live interview.

The answer's in your hands. Be part of the solution. Support Sustainable Publishing.






* read more here: Debunking the Myth: How Printed Books are Actually Eco-Friendly

** read more here: E-books Are Fast Becoming Tools of Corporate Surveillance

*** read more here: Print Book vs E-Book Sales Statistics

**** What carries and/or uses Lithium-ion batteries (associated with e-books)?

  • Bluetooth headsets/earbuds/headphones

  • Cell phones

  • eReaders

  • Labtops

  • Tablets

*****Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, or Canada Energy Regulator

Sustainable Publishing©, its logo, and promotional photos/posters/artwork is copyrighted and may only be used with explicit and written permission from Broken Keys Publishing. Bookstores can contact Broken Keys Publishing at to inquire the criteria and permission needed to display this logo on their websites, storefronts, and social media. 

(Photograph used with permission and licensing agreement with JJ Wenzel Images. Model: Rachel Gilmore.)

ebook vs print book gross sales
ebook-print ratio - 2015-2019
ebook-print ratio - 2022-2023
ebook vs print book gross sales
Lithium Leaching Fields
Sustainable Publishing logo
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