I confess. I am an Amazon kind-of-a-guy. I find their prices often competitive, and their range of goods almost always satisfactory. I regret that my own shopping habits will only let specialist book shops survive, those that specialize in a particular niche or quality (such as Stanfords) or into quality (e.g. Quodlibet).
But, I wonder what the overall environmental impact of Amazon is going to be.
I don’t walk or drive to the nearest store. Instead, I click. The CO2 balance is, while not zero, small compared to driving into town, but server farms to power Google, Amazon, my Internet service provider and many other serves en route aren’t powered by good will alone. Plus, the delivery guy drives around. He serves many customers on one journey, so the overall environmental cost of delivering something to me is lower than the cost of all those customers going out to buy. But on the other hand again, not all those purchases would have been made, had it not been for the convenience of the double-click from the comfort of my home.
Also, I find myself with a regular collection of packaging materials. I put the plastic into the plastic and the paper and cardboard into the paper and cardboard recyclables, but again, a lot less of this would be necessary, had I taken my re-usable cotton carrier bag down to the nearest Borders store. Oh, Borders is closed down already.
Did anyone bother to make a scientific analysis of all this? And, did anyone bother to summarize it nicely? P.O.S.T. where are you when we need you?
- A Thoughtless Gift, More Personal than Cash (rmbenson.wordpress.com)
- Internet Swoons Over Amazon-Like Resume (newser.com)
- How bookshops could be happy ever after: ebooks could provide new revenue stream (independent.co.uk)
- Ask Slashdot: Where Are the E-Ink Dashboards? (hardware.slashdot.org)