So I took this week’s Sports Illustrated to the gym this morning to read with my cardio workout, and found that I identified closely with the story about high school guard Roberto Nelson who received “more than 2,000 recruiting letters from 56 colleges.” According to the story, “You’ve Got (Too Much) Mail,” by George Dohrmann, SI determined that Roberto only opened 18% of his letters and packages. The SI analysis determined that “college basketball recruiting pitches eat up the equivalent of 1,526 trees a year.”
I related to this story not because I was heavily recruited for my point guard prowess, but because I, too, get a ton of mail which goes straight from my inbox to my recycling box and only a tiny percentage gets opened first. I’m talking about publishers’ catalogs. What a huge waste of paper and postage.
We librarians have great tools for finding and buying new books. My absolute favorite is William S. Hein & Co.’s Electronic GreenSlips and I would encourage all book publishers to get their new and forthcoming titles listed there. There are many other good tools but I’m finding a new kid on the block is very helpful too: The Law_Book twitter feed – we’ve been picking a lot from there lately.
As the SI story notes:
Noting the environmental cost compared to the number of letters Nelson opened, Gleason asked the obvious question: “If recruits don’t open the letters, why keep sending them? Why waste all that money and paper?”
Some schools might soon ask themselves the same thing. In May, Michigan and Ohio State jointly announced that they would cease printing media guides. Bygones from the pre-Internet age . . .
I ask the same thing about publishers’ catalogs, especially the thick ones listing every title in print, most of which we already own. In my opinion these bygones should be bygone. What with all the money they will save, I’m sure law book publishers can offer us better prices on their books — that will get more of my business.