City Hippy

The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

REVIEW: Green Metropolis

I am a bit of a bookworm and can't resist buying books at any opportunity. However, I have recently become aware of the colossal impact the book industry can have on the environment. Take the first print run of JK Rowling’s latest Harry Potter espisode, this stretched to over two billion pages - or 2.5 million copies - in the UK alone - the equivalent to over 8,000 trees!

Luckily, for the discerning book buyer there is now an ethical choice - - the UK’s first dedicated secondhand book website.

The idea is simple - you can buy, sell and recycle your books all in one place. All books have a set price of just £3.75 (hardbacks and paperbacks). £3.00 goes to the seller, 70p to GreenMetropolis. In addition the site donates 5p from the sale of every book to the Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest tree planting charity.

All you have to do is register for an account. Credit your account with cash and then purchase books. You can also register any books you wish to sell. Unlike most second have bookshops you will find both old and new publications on GreenMetropolis.

Founder Barry Crow, told me he came up with the when he downsized from a 4-bedroom house in Newcastle to a 1-bedroom London flat and found that he had literally accumulated hundreds of books over the years which now had to be given away.

Barry continued, "Whenever possible, I tried to buy my books from charity shops or second-hand book shops, however trying to find a book I actually wanted to read was difficult and any recent releases had to be bought new. The key behind GreenMetropolis was to create a community of readers who were prepared to recycle books by buying, reading and selling on their books via a website."

"I searched the Internet and realised that a comprehensive second-hand book website didn’t exist. So I started planning GreenMetropolis. In addition, it seemed that no other website, including market leaders Amazon, had found an ethical way of recycling books and as well as offering much the same service as a bookshop. "

GreenMetropolis found this way and in 2005, thanks to the members £1,974.50 was donated to the Woodland Trust.

I am a member of bookgroup, The PoshClub, so the site comes in every handy. Any book I need for the club I can purchase and then resell once I have read it. This not only saves me a lot of money but also helps plant trees at the same time.

Need a novel way to recycle your books? Look no further. provides a wonderful service.

Until next time, be as green as you can be


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At 5:22 PM, Blogger merrick said...

What a fantastic idea this is!

Whenever I've mentioned the environmental impact of books I've had 'that' look; the 'you're trying to take all my fun away' look, with an added sprinkling of 'what a philistine' and a soupcon of 'you Nazi bookburner'.

Yet the average book is read less than once; can it really be worth all those trees and all that energy just to make a dust-gatherer?

Passing on book we're never going to read again is excellent environmental practice, and as the new owner gets it cheap it's a win-win deal. Unless you're a paper mill or the owner of Waterstones or somesuch.

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to point out that I am a book person. I own hundreds of book...most of which are read again and again. I dont want publishers to stop publishing books but I think we need to be more ethical about it. Use recycled paper, plant trees when chop others down, use environmentally freindly inks.

It isn't hard it is just common sense


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