Says Who? Anonymous Dead Tree Edition Blogger Talks All Things Publishing
INBOX: Do you believe the publishing/paper/printing industries do a good enough job touting their green benefits? What can be done to help spread their message?
DT: The paper and printing industries are finally starting to spread the word about the environmental benefits of printing vs. digital media. But most people, even in the publishing business, still believe digital is greener than print. They overlook the high carbon footprint of computers and data centers, as well as the toxic materials lurking in every laptop.
Publishers need to stop making and communicating such simplistic assumptions and to be certain their vendors aren't making bogus claims about going green by going digital. They also need to do more on making print greener. Going green starts with publishers becoming more educated about environmental issues so they can move beyond simplistic claims regarding recycled content and focus on such issues as carbon footprint and sustainable forestry. Unfortunately, companies that have been industry pioneers on this front like Wenner, Hearst and Time Inc. haven't received much acclaim for their admirable efforts.
INBOX: What effects do the USPS’ struggles have on the publishing industry? Can the USPS recover and continue to be a viable entity?
DT: The Postal Service is on the verge of running out of money, which may be just the kind of crisis we need. Even Congress is starting to understand what mailers and postal officials have known for yearsâ€•that the current USPS model isn't economically viable. It’s easy, but mostly wrong, to blame postal officials for the problems.
The fault lies mostly with Congress, which has prevented the USPS from downsizing and has essentially been stealing billions of dollars annually by requiring the USPS to prepay retirement benefits. If not for that retirement benefits shell game, which has nothing to do with retirees and everything to do with making the federal deficit look smaller, the USPS would've been profitable until this year. Because the USPS must operate at break-even, the inefficiencies and prepayments foisted on it by Congress have been borne by mailers in the form of higher postal rates.