Save Trees and earn Money 7/13/2009 8:20:50 AM



Thousands of trees are cut down every year to produce the paper that makes books. Publishers have been announcing initiative after initiative aimed at making their book production environmentally friendly. One of the best so far is a program that allow you to contribute to a more sustainable book industry and earn money in the process.

Kirtas Books specializes in digitizing and selling rare and out-of-print books as downloads or hard copies printed on demand. Now, when consumers pay for a book's digitization, they can also share in its future sales thanks to a new initiative just launched.
The "Invest in Knowledge" program allows "anyone to subsidize the digitization of the world’s knowledge one book at a time," as the company puts it. Consumers first pick what book they'd like to support and then make sure on the company's site that it's available for inclusion in the program—meaning, primarily, that no other investor has already selected it. If it is, they then order it through the Invest in Knowledge option. In addition to the regular USD 1.95 price for a downloadable copy of a digitized book, subsidizing it through the Invest in Knowledge program costs an additional USD 28.05—not too much more than the usual USD 8.05 or USD 18.05 prices for soft- and hard-cover versions, respectively.

When they do support the  program, however, users get not just a soft-cover version, but they are also entitled to 5 percent of all future sales of that book through their website. So, when a future user orders a copy of the book for USD 8.05, for example, the subsidizing user would receive some 40 cents. The company supplies "investors," as it calls them, with a link from their account to track the total sales and total revenues earned through the program. Users can invest in as many books as they'd like, and are encouraged to spread the word and help market the digitized versions they've supported.

“This is such a tremendous opportunity for the average consumer to help support and fund the digitization of some amazing collections of books,” explains Tom DeMay, the Rochester, N.Y., company's vice president of business development. “So not only are consumers doing the right thing, but if they want to ask, ‘what’s in it for me?’ we can give a great answer. Several titles or one popular book could provide a nice return on investment over time, creating a true lifelong investment in knowledge.”

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