April 1, 2008
IVP Academic’s Carbon-Offset Program
Here is some news that we want Addenda & Errata readers to be the first to hear.
Building on IVP’s participation in the Green Press Initiative, IVP Academic will soon be introducing its carbon-offset program for purchasers of our books.
IVP Academic is aware that in providing readers with print books, we are contributing to deforestation and the depletion of one of earth’s most valuable carbon-absorbing resources: trees. With the scientific evidence for human-induced global warming mounting, we want to do our part in addressing this issue.
It is estimated that over the past twenty years the deforestation due to religious publishing alone has reached a level far exceeding that of the previous one hundred years. This excess is partly due to the use of word processors in writing books, a phenomenon that has increased the length of books by an estimated 40 to 50 percent. In addition, the computerization of the book publishing industry has led to a proliferation of publishing ventures and a readiness to publish more books than ever before. In fact, over the past decade the number of English language books published per annum in North America has tripled to over 200,000. At the present rate of publishing, it is estimated that in the next ten years an area the size of western Montana will be denuded of trees due to religious publishing alone.
Phase I-A of our carbon-offset program will be applied to the IVP Academic imprint. (Later phases will be applied to other IVP imprints.) Academic and reference books are on average larger than books in other categories and thus consume more wood pulp. On the other hand, we want to believe that our academic readers are on the whole more thoughtful and conscientiously aware of the environmental consequences of their book consumption. So we expect our academic book customers to eagerly embrace IVP Academic’s initiative.
Phase I-B of our carbon-offset program will be applied to IVP Academic authors. Working from Aquinas’s theological principle of equal distribution of guilt (Quia non est iustus quisquam), balanced by some faults exceeding others (peccatores . . . quorum primus ego sum), a carbon offset program will be applied to every IVP Academic author who exceeds an average output of two hundred typeset pages per annum and whose sales exceed 3,000 copies per year (with calculations beginning April 15, 2008). For it’s a byword at IVP that “Jim Sire has sawn down his thousands, but Jim Packer his tens of thousands.” (Authors of more recherché monographs will have little chance of crossing this threshold, but may contribute to the program voluntarily.)
IVP has long been known for its reasonable book prices. So it has been disconcerting to realize that our low prices, which have made so many thoughtful Christian books available to so many, have had the unintended consequence of increasing our contribution to the present ecological crisis. Thus our carbon-offset program will also compensate for our generous pricing structure.
So beginning April 15, 2008, IVP Academic will begin its customer offset program: for every academic or reference book you purchase, you will be buying a carbon offset amounting to ten percent of the retail price of the book. This offset automatically will be added to your billing, after sales tax has been calculated and any relevant discounts applied.
In our customer program, IVP Academic will be offering two carbon-offset options: the silicon offset and the cellulose offset. The silicon offset will go toward an equitable price reduction of IVP Academic electronic book products. This will encourage the purchase of our electronic books. The cellulose offset will be invested in planting trees at a site located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
To facilitate execution of this program, when you buy books from our website, you will be able to designate whether you want a silicon or a cellulose offset. Books purchased otherwise (e.g., Amazon) will also have their offset calculated and applied at purchase, but without the option of designation. Nevertheless, you may clip off the ISBN code from the back cover of the book, write “silicon” or “cellulose” on the back, and send it in to our IVP Academic carbon-offset program administrator. Book sales that are not designated will be considered silicon offsets.
In the future, IVP Academic will be initiating a program that will allow readers to purchase carbon offsets for IVP Academic books already on their shelves. This program will be strictly voluntary, though we will conduct an audit of our customer purchases and send out notices of a recommended carbon offset amount, which can be paid in full or distributed over future purchases.
“Congratulations to IVP Academic for their author carbon-offset program. As a challenge to my fellow authors, I pledge to plant a tree in every state of the Union in order to offset my writing a commentary on every book of the New Testament.”
“IVP is embarking on a late Christian mission of cosmic consequence. Now we can say, ‘IVP planted, Apollos watered.’”
“An extraordinary initiative! There can be little doubt that those who like this kind of thing will like this very much indeed.”
“IVP-Academic’s carbon-offset program is an outstanding example of building for the kingdom, establishing a signpost of God’s future setting the world to rights. I can scarcely doubt that every offset IVP Academic book will be taken up into God’s new creation, and that the trees planted will be the very ones that will sing and clap their hands. This is a win-win proposition.”
Robert Fryling, Publisher for InterVarsity Press, says that, “With this carbon-offset initiative, IVP has established itself as the leading Christian publisher of offset books.”
And our newly hired administrator of the carbon-offset program, John Tetzel, felt strangely moved toward verse:
As soon as an offset in the register does ring,
To help spread the word, IVP Academic will soon be offering eco-friendly bracelets with the slogan “I planted a tree for the healing of the nations (Rev 22:2).”