Video Presence Reigns in Virtual Communities

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is priceless. Millions of individuals have created an online visual presence and reaped the benefits of doing so in their personal and professional lives. Although traditionally text-based, the writing community has discovered the rewards of having a unique presence online via video and has created communities to cement their places in cyberspace. Two such communities that have established solid international footholds are BookTube and AuthorTube. These YouTube groups focus on the reader and writers’ perspectives to unite and enhance the digital literary world.

Having launched around 2010, BookTube is essentially a virtual coffee shop where written-word lovers review and talk about all things related to reading. It is full of individuals who love a good book and use the platform to propagate “worthy” pieces for the masses. While no official rules exist about what can be discussed or posted, three of the most popular styles of BookTube videos uploaded are Reviews, Tags, and Book Hauls. South African BookTuber, Tshegofatso Motlhake posted a video in 2019 further describing the purpose of BookTube and these categories.

To summarize —

  • Reviews: Reviews include literary criticism, personal opinion, and popular reaction. The goal is to share your own thoughts and feelings about a particular piece of literature in hopes to either persuade or deter other readers to interact in kind with the same book.
  • Tags: Tag videos are socially driven. The one posting will typically ask questions for a fellow BookTuber to answer. Topics can be a literary challenge, a response to one of their own posts, asking their opinion, or simply starting a conversation. This is meant to promote ongoing dialogue and a stronger sense of camaraderie.
  • Book Hauls: Book Haul videos are when individuals share the books they have found and purchased, usually without reading them yet. These are simply another way to connect with other BookTubers and promote excitement around newly published or obtained pieces.

One significant benefit of joining a community of readers is that it allows mass promotion of material. If anything requires marketing, video shares are a highly effective way of advertising. A good reader makes a good writer, and many authors obtain beta-readers through connections made on BookTube and so expand their reader base to global proportions. Arthur Gutch, from the blog Opyrus, explains the leverage one can have by using vloggers to boost a writing career. He states, “Book vloggers need new material every week just like book bloggers do. They rely on authors who submit their work in exchange for an honest review of their work.” Using these vloggers to advertise is smart networking, and the BookTube writing community was formed bearing this potential in mind.

Soon after the establishment of BookTube, another literary group snuck onto the scene. Realizing that on the other side of readers are writers also needing a social community and professional outlet, vloggers started posting to a new forum — thus, AuthorTube was born. Writers, editors, and other literary professionals and wannabes started posting helpful information and insight regarding the writing and publishing world, including tips they have learned themselves.

Novelist Courtney Young (under the pen name Lyra Parish) has been one of the leading vloggers in the AuthorTube community for several years, with over 6.26K subscribers. Her channel, The Courtney Project, is a multi-faceted channel that showcases in-demand topical material. From writing tips and encouragement to burnout and marketing, she — as well as other successful vloggers — attempt to make the field a bit more straightforward than the chaos it can be when starting out.

Writers are not the only individuals posting on AuthorTube. Having an impressive variety of amateurs and professionals post their thoughts to the public serves to enlarge the cache of knowledge and experience available to the up-and-coming. The writer of Penchant states,

I’ve actually found it much more illuminating to watch videos from editors and agents than from aspiring authors. Writers like to talk about writing — often about their own processes. Editors and agents know what constitutes good writing and bad writing.

While some that post in these online communities are young adults aspiring to be famous YouTubers, just as many, if not more, have notable and reliable information to share.

The literary community reaps substantial benefits from networking and maintaining a consistent visual/video presence online through digital forums such as these. Engaging with other writers provides a considerable measure of accountability and encouragement to keep pressing through the writing process. Tricks of the trade can also be picked up from those who have been in the same position and have pushed past their shortcomings. Author Learning Center dives into several more advantages of plugging into these YouTube groups, including:  

  • Access to the video-watching demographic
  • Access to one of the largest search engines on the web
  • High discoverability as an author
  • Ability to form a substantial following and engage with like-minded people

According to Hootsuite, YouTube logs more than 2 billion monthly users — a staggering number of people to have open access to. YouTube boasts impressive localization in over 100 countries and can be accessed in over 80 different languages. Connecting with a group that extensive, to glean wisdom from and market towards, provides resources that can save a literary professional caught in a sink or swim situation. When the writing slump hits or when facing a unique publishing problem, the ability to access a storehouse of information in one location is invaluable. These are just a few of the rewards of establishing a literary presence in a video-based platform with global renown.

The digital community relies heavily on video presence, making information and marketing relatable and easily accessible by various devices. It may be challenging to read a 5-page article on a topic via smartphone, but watching a BookTube or AuthorTube channel on the same subject is as easy as tapping play. With informal access and virtual interaction with countless individuals, professionals become friends, and work becomes play. Communities thrive on personal interaction, and networking cannot be fully taken advantage of without consistent communication. Online communities provide that consistency and are reliable venues for readers, authors, editors, and lovers of all things “bookish” to come together and thrive in a welcoming and growing environment.

Wattpad and Copyright

What is Wattpad? Wattpad is a digital-based entertainment company for storytelling for both fanfiction and original works of fiction. At the same time, Wattpad is both a website for people to publish their stories while also being a place where people can read novels. It’s also a place where people from around the world to share their creativity with readers. The website has original work and fanfiction. That ranges from horror to romance to fantasy to supernatural to anything from a person’s imagination. Wattpad is beneficial to both the reader and the authors by providing a safe place to upload stories and reading them.  Some writers can have their stories published by Wattpad or other publishing companies or self-publish their works through digital publication. Wattpad believes in protecting all users from plagiarism by coming up with a way to preserve all stories uploaded. Many people believe that Wattpad is only for fanfiction, stories written by fans of different books, tv shows, and movies; it’s much more than that. While in the effort of gaining their users’ trust and protecting them as best as legally possible.

Wattpad has made it easy for authors to protect their stories from plagiarism by taking copyright and DMCA very seriously. A person can not post a story they have copy onto the site, not without some consequences on their part from Wattpad’s legal team. If an author’s work is upload from another website to Wattpad without their consent, the author can report the uploader for copyright infringement. The author of the original work would have to fill out a form by pervading personal information. Wattpad has a link to the form need, or the author could go to the DMCA website to fill out a DMCA takedown form. The author can also ensure that their novel is protected by copyrighting the language in the advanced setting when they upload it. There have been some cases regarding fanfiction that have gotten some companies in legal trouble. However, Wattpad has been careful by having a fanfiction genre on the website and opinion for an author to use when they publish. Wattpad made it possible for their website users to be comfortable and protected as both readers and authors.

              Wattpad does have a way to protect authors on their website. One of those ways is by disabling the copy and paste function. The disabled copy feature stops other users from copying an author’s story on another account or website like,, or a third-party website. The disabled paste feature is to prevent users from pasting another author’s work to the Wattpad website. If the stories are of the fanfiction variety, the author can reserve some of the rights to the books, tv shows, or movies. The fanfiction part is in a different genre on Wattpad. There have been some cases of copyright on the fanfiction side of Wattpad with various fandoms. When a story is uploaded to Wattpad, there are three standard opinions a writer must check before the novel is published all right reserved, no rights reserved, and creative commons. All right reserved give the writers complete control of their story while other users can write reviews about the novel or recommend someone else to read. No right reserve allows other users to use the author’s story in any way the user wants. Most if not all writers would not use this function when they upload their stories to Wattpad. The last one creative common give the author some rights to their novel while giving the public some rights to the author’s novel. That right could be translated into another language or a movie with the author’s permission and helpful input. Wattpad has made its website safe with the different levels of protection for both itself and the authors. Because without the functions that it has now, Wattpad would have had as much legal trouble as

AI Copywriting: A Solution for Small Business

Maintaining an aggressive digital presence requires powerful and focused advertising copy. A business needs to provide a clear and consistent message on all its digital channels to advance in the marketplace. Finding and hiring an adequate copywriter can cost a small or micro-business owner substantial time and money—a combination that is finite and already in high demand.  

AI copywriting services may provide an answer. These programs can do things like writing ad copy, editing website content, and creating mail campaigns. Artificial Intelligence cannot take the writing task completely off a business owner’s plate, but it could help save energy and resources.  

How AI Copywriting is Changing the Marketing Landscape 

Good copywriting traditionally depended on the work of trained marketing experts. These specialists command salaries that are usually out-of-reach for the small and micro-business owner’s advertising budget. Luckily, AI is making small businesses more competitive by offering low-cost copy generation. A Smart Insights article notes that AI “writers” are currently sophisticated enough to avoid readers’ detection and boost conversion. Business owners can trust this proven level of AI competency when using copywriting software.  

Using AI-generated Templates 

Software like copy.aiarticoolo, Writesonic, and Copysmith can turn a vague idea into marketable copy. Even better, the absolute beginner can make use of these writing programs. Templates can take a user from developing a product description, to isolating keywords for search engine optimization, and onward to writing a listicle including a recommendation for that exact product. According to a Forbes article, the creative director for eBay even described one of these programs as being “to copywriting what Photoshop is to designers.” A more timely comparison might be to Canva –the accessible graphic design program that comes stocked with thousands of editable templates.  

As an example, I wrote the following description for an imaginary one-person consulting agency called Russo Results:  

I research and write articles to introduce small and micro-business owners to time and  money-saving technology that can make their marketing strategies more aggressive.  

-input into AI software

By filtering that poorly written sentence through template generators in three different programs, I was able to derive the following unique value proposition (written by AI but compiled from many templates by me):  

I’m a solo entrepreneur, so I know you have limited marketing resources.  

1. I’m a self-employed hairstylist and salon web marketing manager. I also run my  consulting service, Russo Results, to help small business owners save time and money  with proven marketing strategies.  

2. I’m a researcher, not a saleswoman. I work to give owners actionable advice based on  my analysis of their challenges and needs.  

3. I’m affordable. That’s right; my services won’t break the bank for your business’s  marketing budget.  

AI-generated copy

This proposition is far more potent than the vague description I provided. The AI synthesized my meaning and offered complete and confident copy that would be useable as written.  

What’s the Catch?  

Unfortunately, no single AI copywriter could take my idea from start to finish. Instead, I had to: 

  1. input my example sentence into’s brand mission generator,  
  1. then put that brand mission into Writesonic’s keyword extractor,  
  1. then finally into Copysmith’s unique value proposition generator.  

The process only took about five minutes. Still, it required access to all three programs and the ability to filter between the many templates each process generated. These programs still need a small-business owner to have both the financial resources to subscribe in the first place plus the writing and marketing background to optimize their results. By selecting a weaker option at any level of content generation, we go from the copy shown above to this – much more anemic – output:  

I’m Hope Russo, call me at [XXX] XXX-XXXX.  

1. I offer affordable marketing strategies for small business owners.  

2. Whether you need a fresh marketing strategy or a marketing makeover, I look forward  to helping your business succeed!  

AI-generated Copy

The first unique value proposition illustrated confidence, skill, and an awareness of consumer pain points. By contrast, this copy is vague, unpolished, and dull. Successful composition still depends on human judgment, making the value of business investment into AI copywriting software dependent on the user’s competency.  

Emerging tech startups such as Joshua Wong’s Hypotenuse AI are already working to solve this problem. In an article with TechCrunch, Wong notes the failures of modern copywriting technology. Further, he suggests that his program utilizes the newest machine-learning tech to write tailored copy that matches a brand’s personality. He also teases “the possibility of the AI enabling infinitely customizable marketing copy — meaning a website could parse a visitor’s data footprint and generate dynamic product descriptions intended to appeal to that particular individual.” Should Wong realize his goals with Hypotenuse, the small business subscriber will have an incredible marketing advantage.  

Bottom Line 

AI copywriting is not a perfect solution. Still, it is a time-saving option for small and micro-business owners operating with a limited marketing budget. While the current output of these programs will still need human scrutiny, targeted copy templates can allow business owners to manage their own advertising. Future copywriting AI technology promises even more freedom for small and micro-business marketers.  

If there are writing purists who still frown on AI copywriting, it’s important to note that tech-assisted writing is not the future of the discipline; it’s the present. Writesonic AI outlined this article, Grammarly proofread it, and Hemingway edited it for clarity. 

Building an Online Literary Journal from Start to Finish

Building a successful literary journal or magazine from scratch is possible with the right tools and blueprints. From the birth of an idea to the finished product, the process will require concentrated effort and heartfelt dedication. There will be a learning curve, but aspiring editors can craft a journal for both digital and traditional print by adhering to the following steps.

Begin with the End in Mind

To be successful in any venture, author and speaker Stephen Covey hit the nail on the head with his famous piece of advice, “begin with the end in mind.”

Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.

For creating a publication, it is crucial to have a vision for what you want the finished journal to be. Begin with the end in mind. Do you want the journal to be for traditional print, online-only, or both? What genres of writing do you want to represent? What is your purpose for creating one, to begin with? What name best represents your publication’s style?

Aside from all of this, one of the questions you must answer is, “how much work am I willing to apply to do?” Whether you have a team or not will also directly influence this answer. Once you decide on your investment, you will be able to assess how often the journal can be released: annually, bi-annually, monthly, etc.

Monetization is another possibility to consider. Many literary magazines (particularly digitized versions) can make a profit but require methods such as subscription services, submission fees, website advertising, and more to do so. However, these details can be readdressed later if you want to test the waters and measure your success before committing to sponsors.

Defining Your Digital Presence

Having an online presence will be critical to your success, regardless of whether you are printing or strictly virtual. Carefully decide which platform to use. gives several platform suggestions such as Weebly, Wix, WordPress, Bluehost, and Squarespace. These sites provide pricing and package options that cater to all financial and coding abilities. Most platforms offer simple drag and drop design schemes for free or low cost and are relatively easy to learn.

Other aspects to consider are advertising and networking platforms. Your virtual exposure will be critical for advertising purposes, requesting submissions, and maintaining interest. According to Statista, the most used social media platforms in 2021 are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and several more. While primarily known as entertainment-based mediums, countless professional entities are now using their advertising and networking services. Where the most people gather is where you should establish a digital presence.

To go a bit deeper into this advertising realm, do not discount services such as Google Ads to help you spread the word. Some marketing methods may require a small charge but often are worth every penny. Google Analytics is another good online tool to use for tracking your site’s metrics.

There must be a reliable way for readers to subscribe to your journal.
A “Subscribe Now” button on the site will allow for sign-ups via email.
* Remember to include all social media handles *


Now that you can picture your final result and have established your online presence, it is time for the blueprints. Whether for traditional or digital publications, stick to the plan, and you will avoid common mistakes.

#1- Team Effort Vs. Flying Solo
If you are lucky enough to have a team, now is when you need to get to know them. Plan around their skills and passions before assigning roles. People work harder in areas they are interested in. Assign clear tasks and solid deadlines. Spread the workload so that everyone is doing something, but no one is doing everything. If your team happens to be large enough, divide the group into sections with a group leader who reports directly to you. Keep lines of communication open and have checkpoints to keep a handle on progress. If you do not have a team and are flying solo in this venture, apply the same steps and principles to yourself as you would to others. If you handle yourself the way you would handle a team, staying on target with your publication goals will be much easier.  

#2- Deadlines
Once again, begin with the end in mind. Decide when you want your first journal to “hit the shelves” and work backward timewise from there. Remember that you will need time for contributors to send in submissions, editors to comb through those subs, and the design team to create a layout. Typical deadlines should include:

  • Close of Submissions
  • Content Editing Deadline
  • Design/Formatting Deadline
  • “Go Live” Date or Send to Printer Deadline

#3- Show Me the Money!
For traditional print, costs keep rising. Depending on print goals, you will need as much in the budget as possible. This amount will differ depending on whether you wish to pay your team, make it a profit-based publication, or offer it pro bono. Advertising, in-person fundraising, hosting ads, and any extra funds will always be helpful. For online publishing, the cost to “print” may be less or even nonexistent but those funds can go towards paying a team or yourself. The same focus applies either way.

If offering free copies, start fundraising ASAP! There will always be unforeseen costs when it comes to budgeting.
* Check early on detailed price lists *

#4- Submission Guidelines
Get the word out quickly once you are open for submissions. Clearly define your journal’s focus, the genres accepted, what will/will not be considered, and then hold to your own rules. Several submission services and websites will allow entries to be sent via email or into a collective location. One of which is the well-known Microsoft OneDrive. The submitted material can also be organized and shared with other team members, making step #5 a smoother process.

#5- Start Editing
Now is when the real work begins. You will need to find a system of sharing notes that work best for you and your team. Google Docs is a simple (and free) place to start, as it allows document sharing where everyone can see added notations.

Editing Process:

  • Formatting/Style: The layout of each submission should be consistent. Even if you have variations in style, you still want the journal to flow. Pieces could have bold titles, italicized author names, a page numbering system, etc.
  • Grammar: Address grammatical and structural errors within the subs while leaving room for artistic licensing.
  • Appropriateness: Is your journal “clean” content or language-wise? If so, then check that the submissions reflect those standards. Leniency will call those standards into question and will be harder to maintain later.
  • Paring Down: You may have to say “no” to some talented writers and illustrators. If so, be kind and encouraging. Never leave any contributor in the lurch as to whether their submission was accepted or not. Reach out to them directly if possible, and encourage them to try another time or even try a different publication if they were not the right “fit” for your journal.
  • Communication with Authors: Reach out to the authors with any necessary edits. A comma here or there can be corrected, but if there are fundamental changes required, reach out to them with the suggestions. They are the writers; if they do not want to change anything, then take it as-is and print it. If the piece cannot flow with the feel you want to convey, then a positively spun denial of publication may be required.

Congratulate the accepted authors and double-check how they want their names displayed.
* Get the spelling right *

#6- Building the Journal
What vibe will your cover convey? Your first image needs to represent the heartbeat of your journal. Is the theme more modern, fantasy, vintage, or pop-culture? Decide the feel you want readers to have when they pick up or click on your publication. One of the many programs that offer both free and paid versions is Canva. This site provides the ability to create custom pieces that can save in multiple formats. You can upload images or design them from the hundreds of elements offered.   

For formatting written content, there are just as many programs available as there are for graphic design. Reedsy is one such tool that allows you to transfer submissions from software like Microsoft Word, design and edit, and then save in various formats, including the widely accepted PDF. Pages can then be numbered, and a Table of Contents created. Include the following sections to ensure proper credit is given and the design remains professional.

  • Copyright Information with documented ISSN number
  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Special Thanks to Sponsors and Contributors
  • List of Staff/Team Members

If printing, check and see which formats the printer will accept.
Most accept several different formats – the most common being PDF.

#7- Go to Press!
Time to Publish! Send the formatted publication to your printer or click that “publish” button. Ensure that the formatting stays correct when shifting between your design software and your website. If applicable, check if the structure used is also compatible with a mobile version. Most people access the internet via their smartphones, and how your journal looks on a small screen will make or break the readability.

Maintain communication with sponsors, writers, and your team. Ensure everyone’s software is compatible with the jobs required and if using the same programs, talk and make sure margins and page sizes are the same across the board! Otherwise, this will throw off your progress and add unnecessary stress
Let your team know how much you appreciate their hard work, pat yourself on the back, and then…
* Get ready for the next edition!

Where Can You Read Webcomics?

What are webcomics? Webcomics are comics published on the internet and/or mobile apps. That way more people can enjoy them from anywhere. There are different websites for webcomics that artists can use to digitally publish their work whether they use a publishing company or self-publish their work on these websites. Now that the internet is easy to access from all over the world with the use of smartphones, tablets, and computers. So webcomics websites are on a rise as well with the new influx of readers. There are different websites for comics artists to upload their comics to their readers. The well-known websites would be Tumblr and Line Webtoons. These sites are helpful to anyone looking to discover new comics to read.  

Tumblr has been a creative outlet for artists who want to share their work and gain a following to help promote their page. Tumblr would be a website for beginner comics artists to share their style of drawing to slowly get viewers interested in the story of the comic or for advanced artists who would just share their works with their viewers. The artist can share a short scene or full page of the comic. This way the artists do not have to meet a deadline to turn in their work to a publisher and they could take their time to get make their comics right for their viewers. The viewers do not have to follow the artists. They just follow the tag or keywords for a comic genre.  

Line Webtoon is one of the most popular apps and websites for comics artists to share their work. The viewer can follow the comics series to keep up to date with the latest installment.

Digital vs. Print Business Newsletters: Is One Better Than the Other?

     A newsletter is an important element of communication for any company. Newsletters can be used to inform employees of company policy or policy changes that may affect them as employees of the company. Newsletters can also be a vital part of a business’ communication with its customer base. Business owners can use newsletters to inform customers of new product availability or special sales and promotions. Whether directed toward employees or customers, newsletters streamline communication making it easier for business owners to keep important information about their company flowing to those who need to know it.

     Traditionally, newsletters have been printed letters or magazines mailed out on a regular schedule, generally monthly or quarterly. However, with the rise in popularity of electronic communication, more and more companies are opting to either supplement their print newsletters with digital alternatives, usually in the form of email, or replace print newsletters all together. But, is replacing print publications always the best decision? The answer is it that is really depends on a company’s needs and its goals for the newsletter. In considering the question of whether a digital publication would a better fit for their business, there are several points for a business owner to consider.

     First, and possibly most important, is cost. Certainly, in the long run, an email newsletter is going to cost less to produce as well as send out. In a blog post written for Tingalls Graphic Design, author Steve Namio writes that electronic newsletters are less expensive to produce and distribute than their printed counterparts. He explains that this is due to the lack of higher printing and mailing costs that are associated with print publications. Lower cost could be especially beneficial for new or smaller companies with limited budgets

     The reduced cost ties well into another important advantage of digital publications – ease and convenience. The reduced financial cost means that digital newsletters can be produced more often than their printed counterparts. Even daily if needed. PS Print explains one advantage this provides is the ease with which smaller groups can be targeted with information specific to each group. For example, while a newsletter detailing changes to the company dress code might need to go to the entire employee base, a newsletter about changes to payroll deadlines only needs to go to employees who deal with payroll. Company-wide information such as dress code changes could probably be handled in a monthly publication whereas department specific information affecting the day to day running of the company will likely be needed more often. Thus, departmental communication could possibly be better handled by email.

     Given these two fairly big advantages, it could be easy to make the jump to the assumption that email newsletters would always be the best choice. And, indeed, in some cases they may very well be the best choice. But, when deciding which to implement for their company, there are a few additional things for a business owner to consider. One thing to keep in mind is that electronic communication can be much easier to ignore than print. PS Print goes on to explain that for all the ease and convenience of  producing and distributing electronic newsletters, there is one big disadvantage. Email is easy to delete and block. Because of this, electronic newsletters may only generate a response rate of about one-half percent compared to a rate of three to five percent for print newsletters. This means that email newsletters might be less than ideal for disseminating important information that a business owner needs employees or customers to read and understand.

     Another disadvantage of electronic communications is the amount of information that can be effectively included. Though they offer up advantages to both, UK based Parker Design Consultants Ltd. mentions this as a potential reason to favor print over digital newsletters. They point out that print publications allow the inclusion of more content and more in-depth detail than can be included in an email. This could be especially advantageous for a customer focused newsletter. With customer focused newsletters, more stories mean more opportunities to use each newsletter to connect with readers in meaningful and productive ways. More detail means the content is going to be more useful and practical. When offered in print, a single publication could serve as a catalog of product and services, advertisement for upcoming seasonal promotions, and a “how to” educational guide for customers on how to best use a new or unusual product offering.

     Parker Design Consultants, Ltd. goes on to list a few other possible print advantages as well. These include fewer distractions to allow the reader better focus and the potential for a printed page to be a refreshing break from the bombardment of screens facing readers today. These could work together with the previously mentioned benefits to make a print newsletter more beneficial in some circumstances.

     Email newsletters without a doubt offer some definite advantages over print publications. These are primarily cost and convenience. Lower cost can be useful for startups with limited budgets. Email can also be more practical when regular communication is needed throughout a larger company with specific information targeting different departments or smaller groups of employees. However, as we have seen, there are circumstance where print newsletters could offer some advantages. One such circumstance could be customer focused newsletters where the purpose is to create meaningful connections with the company’s customer base and increase opportunities for sales of products and services. So, it seems that regarding the question of whether email newsletters have an advantage over print newsletters, the answer is yes and no. Yes, in that there are times when email is clearly the better choice. However, no in that there will always be circumstances where print holds and advantage. Possibly, the best route would be for businesses to employ both, whenever it’s practical to do so, in order to enjoy all the advantages that accompany both electronic and print communication.  

Future Libraries: Environmental Benefits of Moving eBooks into Libraries

Walking into a library, one can smell the familiar and often euphoric smell of printed ink and dust permeating from books on shelves waiting to be picked up and read. However, what if you walk into your local library one day and did not smell dusty books? Reeling your head around the room, you instead see less shelving where books use to stand and more eReader stations for library patrons to pick up and browse digital libraries filled with thousands of eBooks to check out.

As a book lover, it is hard to let go of familiar library memories, but there are many environmental benefits to having eBooks in libraries than continuously buying more printed books.

Printed books have had their place on the shelves of libraries for many years. However, with the rise of technology, the popularity of eReaders, and the increased number of published eBooks, it is time that society, especially librarians, take a closer look at where libraries are heading. Future libraries could potentially have eReader stations, eBooks, and phase out most of the current and new print books from their shelves to reduce the surge of pollution that print books have created throughout the years.

Damage to the Environment Caused by Print Books

When creating a print book, there is carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from the creation of each book that is made. According to Michael Carpenter of The Eco Guide, he writes: “…printing a single book has a carbon footprint of about 7.5kg CO2.” When one talks about CO2, one must also consider the number of trees cut down in a year to be made into books.

University of Michigan’s Planet Blue Campus explains that “Upwards of 15 billion trees are cut down each year in the world, and much of the paper created from these trees are going towards books and textbooks.” University of Michigan’s Planet Blue Campus further remarks that the number of trees cut down in a year alone for textbooks is: “…30 million.” The math of how many textbooks roughly are made from one tree is an astounding 12.

CO2 is being produced, trees are cut down, and those trees that are cut down are not there to filter the emissions being produced by manufacturers of print books. This is causing too much damage to the environment to produce print books.

It may seem like a library is curtailing pollution by housing and reusing books to help the environment and create less waste, but one must also consider the physical space that a book within a library takes up when it on the shelves.

There are many public and academic libraries in the United States, the largest being the Library of Congress. According to the Library of Congress, in 2019, the library had over 24 million cataloged books.  With millions of more books being on the shelves at other libraries, the numbers add up quickly into the billions of just how much space is needed to house all these books.

Environmental Advantages of Using eReaders

EReaders help store a plethora of book titles to take with you on the go, but the person using the eReader does not have to strain to carry thousands of books since it is housed digitally as files in the eReader.

Environmentally there is not a piece of paper from a cut-down tree in sight. Since the creation of OverDrive, readers have downloaded over one billion digital books and saved an estimated 15.8 million trees, and: “That’s enough trees to fill Central Park 610 times,” according to their 2019 article.

EReaders are not completely pollution-free, but their negatives are nothing in comparison to print book production. Michael Kozlowski of Good eReader mentions in his article that Emma Ritch did a study about the pollution of eReaders in comparison to print book that she said, “There is roughly 168 kg of CO2 produced throughout the Kindle’s lifecycle and 1,074 kg of CO2 if you purchase three books a month for four years; and up to 26,098 kg of CO2 when used to the fullest capacity of the Kindle DX. Less-frequent readers attracted by decreasing prices still can break even at 22.5 books over the life of the device.”

Those wishing to help the environment can do so even in a small way by purchasing roughly 23 eBooks during the duration of having an eReader instead of purchasing a print book.

Environmental Differences of Delivery for Print Books vs. eBooks

The environmental differences of delivery for print books and eBooks are drastically different.

For a print book, one must purchase the book either online or in-store, then the items are placed into a plastic or cardboard package before transiting to the store or your home. Next, the book or books have to take a journey from its manufacturer by transportation such as plane and truck (both emit fossil fuels) to arrive at the store or your home.

EBooks can be accessed at any time, anywhere, and delivered to an eReader within minutes, if not seconds. EBooks do not have to be placed in a package that is later going to be discarded into a landfill.

EReaders help the library because they can receive a requested book faster than waiting on the postal system. Libraries also do not have to worry about replacing an eBook since an eReader does not have pages that tear or yellow over time.

More than Print and eBooks

This past year, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused numerous libraries to close down, making the checking out of print books out next to impossible in some United States areas. The demand for eBook rentals through libraries had increased tremendously, according to OverDrive, by 51% in May 2020.

With the knowledge of eBooks being more environmentally friendlier than printed books and eBook use having an increase in 2020, it is a common lingering question on minds whether library structures would close entirely in favor of a library created on a digital platform.

Besides being a physical structure for housing books old and new, the library has been a pinnacle symbol for community members. Citizens of the community do more than just come to return or check out books. Citizens ask librarians questions about books, how to use a form of information technology, how to reference articles or books, they come to read, study, use technology, meet up with others to perform their weekly hobbies of chess or crafts, or come to learn about a class sometimes being taught be the librarians or volunteers.

 When walking into a library, there are all walks of life, from toddlers excitedly rushing to story-time or elderly comfortably sitting reading the newspaper. Everyone in the community comes to the library, whether there are print books or eBooks, they so, because of their shared love of reading and education.

Although libraries will never fully fade away tangibly, future libraries can be built smaller, greener, and house thousands of eBooks on the digital shelves of eReaders so that libraries can have less of an environmental impact on nature for future generations of readers to enjoy.

Free Education, Anyone? Yes, Please!

If the thought of mandatory advanced mathematics or science courses in your degree plan have you terrified, you can take a prep course for free.  Yes, FREE.  Some of our nation’s top universities offer no- (or low-, as in $25.00) cost courses as preparation for more difficult classes, additional help with current classes, or a deeper dive into a particular subject.

Some of the websites are affiliated with the brick-and-mortar schools and universities, whether as a part of the school’s home site, or as a link. Others are hosted by foundations established to make education attainable for all.  For upcoming freshmen, taking the introductory classes before taking CLEP tests can save money one would have spent on freshman class tuition. There is the potential of CLEPing out of many freshman courses in this manner, depending on the CLEPs taken and school requirements. It can definitely save at least some money.

If you have finished your degree and are working in the business arena, there are many free online classes that can enhance skills needed in the business world.  Need more computer knowledge?  It’s there.  Management skills? They are there as well.  Some of the courses can provide a certificate for a small fee if that is needed.

For the simply curious, who want to know more about a particular subject, there are classes that delve deeply into singular subjects.  If home-schooling programs for children are lacking, or if a preparatory class would be beneficial for them, many universities and foundations have created (expressly because of COVID-19 situations) specially designed enhancement classes and seminar programs for school-age children, their parents, and teachers.  Again, many of these are free or charge a nominal fee for membership or access.

Here is a closer look at some of the schools’ free courses:


AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Education Repository, offers many free courses to boost knowledge in the everchanging world of STEM. It is a portal built specifically for those in Community and Technical Colleges, but are free for anyone to use. It is funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the National Science Digital Library.

 Need a refresher before taking that physics class?  Choose from one of AMSER’s whopping 4,431 offerings in the physics category.  Some classes are video series from the likes of the BBC, lectures from Tulane professors, and lectures and presented papers from the likes of U of Maryland and Stanford. Even those individuals who want more information on a particular subject will find this website a virtual treasure chest.  Home-school parents and teachers will find it invaluable. For more information, go to .

Brigham Young University

            This well-regarded Utah university offers both free academic courses as well as self-enrichment classes.  Under its heading of free courses, one will find 31 currently available free classes from World History, to the Old Testament, to Introduction to Print Publishing. In their words, “So, whether you’re looking to better understand personal finance, learn how to build your family tree, or just try out our site before enrolling, our free courses are a valuable resource.”  Visit them at:

Open Learning Initiative

                OLI, whose mission is to “transform higher education through the science of learning,” has a variety of subject classes to enhance college courses or for self-enrichment purposes. The course catalog includes offers classes in the arts and humanities, business, computer science and programming, data science and causal reasoning, language and speech, life sciences, physical sciences, and math and technology.  OLI is affiliated with the renowned Carnegie Mellon University. While there are no free courses at OLI, most have small fees, starting at $25.00. Find them at:


            Harvard University has partnered with MIT for this amazing site for free learning, which is a platform and provider of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course).  EDX has collected courses and programs from partner universities including Harvard and MIT, of course, but also Berkeley, U of California, and the U of Texas system to provide higher education to students globally. According to EDX, it is a “cutting-edge platform filled with the latest college courses.” A sample free course: Excel for Everyone: Core Foundations, offered by the University of British Columbia. If a Verified Certificate is needed, for an employer as proof of completion, the fee is $149.00.  Find the perfect course at: .


And, finally, for those who can’t get enough TED talks, TED’s established an award-winning education extension “to share and spread ideas from teachers and students.” This global network boasts more than 250,000 teachers to help students learn a myriad of subjects, including a platform for those teachers to create interactive lessons. Here’s a sample of their free classes and videos: Underwater Farms vs. Climate Change, Think Like a Coder, Superhero Science, and oodles more at : .

Understanding Digital Analytics and Its Value in Digital Publishing

“Digital analytics” is one of those shadowy web terms that sounds intimidating. The truth is much more comfortable to the trained writer, who is taught from her first composition class to know and write to her audience.

What Digital Analytics Means

Analytics is simply the process of examining data and using that analysis to make future decisions. Digital Management Encyclopedia Ryte Wiki notes that digital analytics is a marketing practice used to determine whether audience targeting measures are performing as expected and how to change messaging to target specific groups in the future. For writers, this means that the audience can often be predicted in particular detail before the first outline is drafted.

The most challenging part of understanding digital analytics is breaking through the marketing industry-specific jargon. Nabeena Mali created an excellent guide for newcomers, explaining key acronyms like CTR (click-thru rate) and CRO (conversion rate optimization). Understanding these terms helps writers find out exactly why and where their content may be failing to execute the desired goal–whether that be sales, audience building, or inspiring action. When that information is available, writers are able to target their future writing in order to reach a better ROI (return on investment).

How to Use Analytics in Digital Publishing

An understanding of analytics is helpful to writers in any digital publishing sphere. In an interview with community manager Molly Buccini, advertising content writer John King notes that developing an understanding of analytics led him to understand “what turns an excellent blog post into a solid marketing tool.” Likewise, technical writer Robert Desprez notes that analytics is essential to technical writers so that they can find out whether their content is informing the consumer and meeting his needs. In both of these situations, the writers describe a dynamic relationship between the writer and consumer. The writer’s content is shaped by what inspires the consumer to seek them out and respond to their content.

In a sense, every writer is a copywriter in the digital age. Writers must understand digital analytics because these metrics determine any product’s success or failure on the internet. The more training in analytics that a writer has, the more prepared she will be to succeed in the competitive digital publishing sphere.

How to Get Analytics Training

The most popular analytics program on the web is Google Analytics. Google offers a comprehensive Academy for training customers to use their Analytics program, ranging from the navigation of the dashboard to maximization of program benefits. Adding Google Analytics to a website is as simple as copying and pasting some code.

Even if the analytics program a writer uses is not Google Analytics, their Academy is the most comprehensive background training available and should translate well. After completing Google Academy, a writer may choose to pursue further site-specific certifications such as Facebook Blueprint and Twitter Flight School. Each of these social platforms uses unique algorithms. Writing platform-specific content with an understanding of what those algorithms value will help a writer’s digital publishing career to flourish.