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The iPod Touch a Greener Ereader

Updated on January 11, 2014

Using the iPod Touch as an Ereader

Apple's iPod Touch (or iTouch) is a wonderful gadget for use by people of all types and ages. Apple created the iTouch to be a media player, allowing users to watch movies and videos, listen to their favorite music, and even stay in touch with the world through the iTouch's WiFi capability. The iTouch is small and easy to take along in a pocket, purse or brief case, allowing users to stay in touch with family and friends on social networks, stay up-to-the-minute on news and developments on the stock market, and more. The iTouch also makes a wonderful ebook and green ereader. There are several apps available for use on the iPod Touch to make reading an ebook easy, comfortable and enjoyable. Read on to discover some of the best ereader applications available on the iTouch. But first, let's take a look at whether ereaders and digital media are in fact greener than printed materials.

Are Ereader Devices Greener Than Printed Materials?

Nowadays, we're all more conscious of living greener lives and leaving behind us a smaller carbon footprint. Many people are concerned about the effects humans have on the ecology of our world. There are many choices and options available to help us live greener lives, such as using ereaders rather than “real” books whose pages are made from trees. Digital media is fast becoming a popular choice for those who want to live green. Some of the most popular digital media is to be found in ebooks, accessed by ereaders. These materials and devices are fast replacing printed materials, but are they in fact greener?

There have been some studies to suggest that ereaders and digital materials are much greener than their paper versions. Pablo Paster, a sustainability engineer at, has written an article about a computation he did in trying to determine if books or digital media leave a smaller carbon footprint. He did a very involved computation, and found reading an ebook or document on a laptop computer did, in fact, use less electricity than reading a book or printed document. Paster's calculations showed reading a 100-page document on a laptop resulted in about one tenth of a pound in greenhouse gas emissions, while that same document (printed on paper) would result in 45% more greenhouse gas emissions. You can read Paster's study to see how he did the calculations. His work is very impressive.

Another study, by the Cleantech Group reported by CNET News, examined claims made by Amazon, that their Kindle ereader device is environmentally friendly. Cleantech's study found the Kindle to truly be better than paper books. The study showed the Kindle to have lower greenhouse emissions than a book if a Kindle owner read most of their printed materials in a digital format . This statement held true even considering the amount of carbon emissions resulting from the production of ereader devices. The study concluded by determining readers can in fact have a positive environmental outcome if they use one ereader device and stop the use of printed materials. The study also showed it was important to recycle the ereader devices in order to have the least environmental impact.

In a third study Naomi Alderman, from the Guardian, writes about her own investigations into the environmental friendliness of ereaders. Her article mentions a study by the US book industry. Their study showed that producing a book can emit up to 4 kg of carbon dioxide, while the production of an ebook will release about .02 kg of carbon dioxide. Alderman's article goes on to discuss the issue of tech waste and its effects on the environment vs production and biodegradable paper books.

Each of these studies showed there are pros and cons to each side of the printed vs digital media divide. The emissions from book production, transport and storage are huge, while the carbon footprint for digital media creation, download and storage are much smaller. However, we still lack an efficient way of managing the end of an electronic gadget's life. Recycling is expensive and has its own impact on the environment. As pointed out by Alderman, books are biodegradable, while ereading devices are not. Even so, each of these studies has come to the conclusion that ereaders tend to be more friendly to the environment and a greener way of reading. The best outcome is if a reader will choose one ereader device and use it exclusively for the life of the device, the recycling the device a the end of its life.

According to these studies, it is safe to say the iPod Touch can be a green device if used consistently for reading, and if the reader avoids purchasing printed materials as much as possible. The iTouch is a a very versatile device. It can be used for everything from communications, to watching movies, to reading ebooks and digital magazines.

Popular iPod Touch Reader Apps

Here is a list of some of the most popular iTouch ereader apps available on iTunes, along with each app's main features. Each of these apps is a free download either to your computer (then install to the iTouch), or directly to the iTouch via WiFi. With the easy accessibility of each of these apps, you can do most of your reading via the iTouch and help the environment by avoiding most printed materials. Additionally, as stated earlier, these apps allow you to read books and magazines on your device. All of these apps are free, which is also a great plus these days.


ibooks, created by Apple Inc.:

  1. Allows the reader to re-download books after initial download—at no extra charge—across devices: iPad, iPhone and iTouch

  2. Has a bookshelf where you can see and arrange all of your books

  3. Keeps track of where you left off reading (also works across devices—if you stop reading on your iPad and begin reading same book on iPhone, program will pick up right where you left off.

  4. Easily browse the bookstore for new books.

  5. Offers many ways to navigate and personalize your reading experience, including reading in landscape portrait mode, resizing fonts, tapping or swiping for page turning and more.

  6. Also offers a built-in indicator to let you know how many pages remain in a chapter.

  7. Allows for annotations, bookmarks, search of the full text for words or phrases, highlight passages.

  8. ibooks can be used only with DRM-free ePub-format and PDF files. It's also possible for users to add their own ePub files via the sync feature through iTunes.

  9. One problem is iBooks offers a limited number of books



Kindle, developed by

  1. Offers more than 600,000 books, including those you've already bought for your Kindle ebook reader.

  2. Customizable reading such as changing font size, bookmarks, turning pages with finger swipes, a status bar indicating how far you've read in the book.

  3. Allows for syncing across devices so you can pick up on your iPad where you left off reading on your Kindle

  4. Best feature is having access to Amazon's many more books—even some ebooks other online stores don't carry.

  5. The Kindle store also offers a good selection of magazines, newspapers and even blogs you can download and read on your iPod Touch.



Stanza, created by Lexcyle:

  1. It's available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices.

  2. Stanza app connects to many online stores and free libraries, including online stores Fictionwise, Books on Board, O'Reily; and free book ebook sources such as Project Gutenburg, the Random House Free Library,Feedbooks and many others.

  3. Reads books in non-DRM-ePud format, ereader, PDF, Comic Book Archive, and DjVu formats

  4. This app allows for many more customizations: you can choose from more than 40 fonts, and change their sizes, customize background and font colors, also allows you to set the reader for daytime or nighttime reading.

  5. Offers an indicator to let you know page number, number of pages in the book and how much of the book is left.


Zinio, a digital magazine publisher, and also the name of the iPod Touch application:

  1. This app allows for reading digital magazines, and some newspapers on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

  2. Allows you to read the magazine with images or without, allowing you to read the material as presented in print, or to read the magazine in the same way as an ebook.

  3. Zinio online store offers a host of the most popular magazines from the US, and some international publications, including newpapers.

  4. The Stanza app makes the magazine interactive with features such as videos, hyperlinks, Allows you to share articles with family and friends via email (as long as you have WiFi connection with the iPod Touch)

iPod Touch: A Versatile Green Ereader

The iPod Touch makes a great ereader device due to the convenience it offers by allowing readers to download books and magazines from most anywhere a WiFi connection is available. The iTouch makes it easy to take along reading material every day and everywhere you go. The iPod Touch will fit in your pocket, purse, backpack and brief case, and is light and easy to hold when reading. The iTouch also offers a greener way to read by ending the use of printed products and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions. The best reading experience can be had by using each of the apps mentioned above. Having each of these apps offers a greater choice of reading material, while allowing you to live a greener life.

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What do you think? Are ereaders here to stay? Please share your experiences using ereaders and the iTouch as an ereader!

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    • Successful Living profile imageAUTHOR

      Sherry Vacik 

      8 years ago from Prague, Czech Republic

      @Jordan Riley: Thank you! I am a huge fan of using ereaders, using them every day.

    • Jordan Riley profile image

      Jordan Riley 

      8 years ago

      Great nuggets of info here . Well done

    • Successful Living profile imageAUTHOR

      Sherry Vacik 

      9 years ago from Prague, Czech Republic

      @tamiran: Thank you for your comment, and I'm happy to hear you have more reason to buy an iPod Touch. They are great little gizmos with so much computing power which makes them very useful!

    • tamiran profile image


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      You write a very informative article about iPod touch. Now I have one more reason to buy iPod touch. Thank you.

    • Successful Living profile imageAUTHOR

      Sherry Vacik 

      9 years ago from Prague, Czech Republic

      Hi Rik,

      Yes, I have to agree with you--Stanza's also my favorite ereader on the iPod Touch. It offers a vast library of free and paid books. I've found a books that I've never heard of, but are a great read via the Stanza!

      Thanks for your comment and for stopping by! :0)

    • Rik Ravado profile image

      Rik Ravado 

      9 years ago from England

      I have an ipod Touch and prefer Stanza. I've read far more since I loaded Stanza (brilliant free App) and all the books I've read so far are free! How else could you slip hundreds of classics into your pocket?

    • Successful Living profile imageAUTHOR

      Sherry Vacik 

      9 years ago from Prague, Czech Republic

      @Dolores Monet: Thanks for your comment! These programs are for the iPod Touch, but a couple of them (the Kindle program and Zinio) can also be used on regular desktop and laptop/netbook computers. These programs make ebooks very versatile and easy to take with you anywhere.

      There is still no definitive answer as to whether ereading devices or "real" books are more green, though the studies mentioned in the hub have come to the conclusion ereaders can be more green if used most of the time for the life of the device.

      Thanks to linking my hub to your Kindle article!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I am so new to the idea of digital books! Many of these, I have never even heard of! I was wondering about the environmental impact of traditional books vs ereaders. Thanks for providing the information. (Hope you don't mind me linking to my Kindle article)


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