Lately the following question has been in my head:

What is the carbon footprint of ebooks compared to regular paperbacks?

Given a book that's ready to be published (e.g. layout completed for either book or PDF) and an estimated sales of 20k over the next 5 years, what is the carbon footprint of the printed books (paper, printing, ink, storage, ...) compared to the carbon footprint of an ebook distribution with its accompanied electrical footprint (servers, clients, ...), if we don't include the retail or e-commerce footprint?

This question could of course get cut in two or more questions which are a lot easier to handle, e.g.

  • What is the carbon footprint of a 20k run of regular paperbacks after its final edit?
  • What is the carbon footprint of an ebook that sells 20k over the span of 5 years after its final edit?

However, the overall intend should be clear from the first question: I'm looking for a site where I can ask about environmental economics. Thus, Economics.SE came to mind; however, I'm not sure whether those questions is the right fit for Eco.SE.

Economics.SE's help center does not rule this kind of question out per se, but it neither convinces me to post my question there with confidence1. I might be mistaken here though, and Eco.SE is the correct SE site.

Do I post question on environmental economics on Eco.SE, or is there another more fitting site on the SE network that I've missed in my (albeit short) research? Are these kind of question too-broad for any of the current SE sites?

1 that might be a small language barrier, as English isn't my first language and due to the current beta state of the site

  • Not an answer, as I'm not familliar enough with the site but Sustainable Living might be a fit. They posess an economics tag and deal regularly with issues of environmental cost. Best of luck.
    – W.O.
    Mar 8, 2020 at 10:14

1 Answer 1


I believe the site you're looking for is Sustainable Living Beta.

Short excerpt from their help page:

What topics can I ask about here?

Sustainable Living Stack Exchange is for folks dedicated to a lifestyle that can be maintained indefinitely without depleting available resources.

  • I'm not completely sure about that. I could probably phrase the question(s) in that direction, but I'm not a "[folk] dedicated to a lifestyle that can be maintained indefinitely". That on-topic checklist is rather open, though, so those kind of questions are at least not off-topic there, I guess?
    – Zeta
    Mar 8, 2020 at 10:29
  • 5
    Seems like my concerns are somewheat irrelevant, as this questions was already answered on SL.SE. So you were on the right track, thanks.
    – Zeta
    Mar 8, 2020 at 10:29

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