How to Be an Environmentally Friendly Book Nerd

Can you reduce your carbon footprint and still read all the books? We say yes. Here are some ways you can be an environmentally friendly Book Nerd.

Reduce Your Book Buying

No, we aren’t suggesting that you read less, just that you explore the many ways you can get and share books. Here are a few ideas.

Borrow books from the library.

Those Book Nerds who are lucky enough to have a great public library system should take advantage of it. Most libraries have easy online methods for you to put in a request for a new book by your favorite YA author or put a hold on that title that everyone is talking about.

Host a book swap.

Invite some fellow Book Nerds to a book swap! Everyone can bring a stack of books they’re ready to part with and find new books to read. If you already have a book club, you could make this a periodic activity.

Shop at used bookstores.

Used bookstores and thrift stores can be great places to find gently used books at bargain prices. You might even find a treasure, like a limited edition or autographed copy. Some secondhand bookstores will also buy your unwanted books for store credit.

Upcycle Your Books

Get crafty and give old books a new lease on life. Search the internet for ways to upcycle your books into home decor, gifts, and more. Here are a few ideas.

Repurpose book pages and dust jackets.

Book pages and dust jackets can be used as material for many types of paper crafts, like origami and decoupage. Check out this Underlined article on transforming a book jacket into a bookmark.

Make seasonal crafts and gifts.

Book pages, covers, and jackets can be turned into creative ornaments, wreaths, or holiday greeting cards.

Transform your hardcovers.

If you’re comfortable working with tools, hardcover books can be hollowed out to make a book safe or transformed into book ends.

Rehome Your Books

It’s fun and rewarding to put your books out into the world for other booklovers to enjoy.

Leave books on a swap shelf.

Find a little free library near you. If there isn’t one, the website has instructions on how to buy or build one. Keep an eye out for “take a book, leave a book” shelves in places you visit. You could ask your favorite neighborhood coffee shop if they have room for a swap shelf.

Donate books to a good cause.

Post your books on a freecycling site or a neighborhood message board. Call a local thrift store and ask if they accept book donations. Ask your library if they have a YA librarian who might like a stack of gently worn YA books for a teen program. Reach out to middle school or high school teachers in your social circle and ask if they need books for their classroom library.

Inspired to make a change? Here are some book recs for the environmentally friendly Book Nerd activist in you!

Girls Who Green the World

Girls Who Green the World

Part biography, part guidebook to the contemporary environmental movement, this book is the perfect gift for future and current activists and changemakers! Girls Who Green the World features the inspiring stories of 34 revolutionaries fighting for our future!

The Uninhabitable Earth (Adapted for Young Adults)

The Uninhabitable Earth (Adapted for Young Adults)

An exploration of the devastating effects of global warming—current and future—adapted for young adults from the #1 New York Times bestseller. This is not only an assessment on how the future will look to those living through it, but also a dire overview and an impassioned and hopeful call to action to change the trajectory while there is still time.

Hidden Systems

Hidden Systems

We use water, electricity, and the internet every day–but how do they actually work? And what’s the plan to keep them running for years to come? This nonfiction science graphic novel takes readers on a journey from how the most essential systems were developed to how they are implemented in our world today and how they will be used in the future.

The Story of More (Adapted for Young Adults)

The Story of More (Adapted for Young Adults)

This young adult adaptation of acclaimed geochemist and geobiologist Hope Jahren’s highly respected nonfiction work is the perfect book for those interested in learning about climate change and how they can contribute to creating a more sustainable future.

Are you an environmentally friendly Book Nerd? Share your ideas on how to donate, repurpose, or upcycle books at @getunderlined or tag us in your photos!

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